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PopPolitics: ‘Consumed’ Makes a Thriller Out of the Politics of Food (Listen)

Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein’s new movie “Consumed” tackles the ongoing controversy over genetically modified food, but it does so in a different way from so many other socially conscious projects: It’s a political thriller, not a documentary.

As such, they are hoping that “Consumed” reaches a broader audience after its premiere on Monday at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

“Food is an emotional topic for people,” Lister-Jones tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel. “Outside of industry versus non-industry, it is what we eat, it is what we feed our children. The best we can hope for is people to really walk away really impacted by the story so they can ask tougher questions about what is going on right now.”

Wein directed the movie and Lister-Jones stars as a mother searching for answers when her son has a mysterious illness. She soon suspects it is related to genetically modified foods. The food industry, however, is financing the research being done on GMOs, and she is tipped to the fact that studies on more harmful effects have been suppressed. Anthony Edwards, Victor Garber, Danny Glover and Taylor Kinney also star.

Wein and Lister-Jones have yet to hear from major food lobbying organizations, even though a documentary last year, “Fed Up,” got some push back from the Grocery Manufacturers Assn.

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“There is this notion that genetically modified food can save the world, which I think is a great idea in theory and a noble pursuit,” Wein says. “We believe in science wholeheartedly. But the truth of the matter is, most of the genetically modified foods that are being made — corns, soy — are actually going more toward biofuels and feeding cattle, and so there is a bit of a misconception of how they are benefiting people.”

Listen below:

Lister-Jones talks about why she and Wein — who co-wrote the script — gave her character a history of mental illness and paranoia.

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California voters defeated a GMO labelling initiative in 2012, after a hard-fought campaign that saw the food industry warn that it could lead to an increase in food prices.

“There is so much information around this topic, and food in general and food safety, that I think people are really overwhelmed,” Lister-Jones says.

Listen below:

TV’s Momentous Shift in the Me Decade

Mark Herzog, producer of CNN’s docuseries “The 70s,” talks about how TV networks abandoned rural sitcoms and escapist fare for daring, topical shows like “All in the Family” and “Maude” in the 1970s, a shift that occurred almost overnight.

Even more surprising, Herzog says, is that “the subject matter that aired on broadcast television in the early 1970s would never be aired today. The language that was said would never be aired today. It surprised us.”

Listen below:

Herzog talks about how Madison Avenue really demanded that TV adopt shows that would draw a more sophisticated, affluent audience.

Listen below:

Seinfeld’s PC Complaint

Nikki Schwab of U.S. News talks about Jerry Seinfeld’s complaint that college campuses have gotten too “PC” to perform. She also talks about the troubles Fox News is facing in including all of the GOP candidates in the first presidential debate on Aug. 6.

Listen below:

PopPolitics, hosted by Variety‘s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS.

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