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Documentary Maker ‘Super Sizes' Promotion

28 Sep, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

With his documentary Super Size Me poised for video release from Hart Sharp Video today, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is super-sizing his promotional efforts with personal appearances focused on college and high school students.

Spurlock is taking his message of the effects of eating nothing but McDonald's food for a month on the road where he hopes it will do the most good: to young people.

“We are doing a college tour and going to high schools and junior highs,” Spurlock said, although he is starting with the older students and hopes to have the family-friendly version of the title out before he takes his tour to middle schools. “There will be a teacher's manual available that they can go through with their students. It will be a printed guide [of which] they can order multiple copies if they want to.”

The message is part nutrition and part media analysis — being aware of how advertisers present their messages and watching for questionable claims. Spurlock went a long way to make his point.

“When you are a teenager, there is nothing in that film that you cannot see. The family-friendly version will be sans sexual and drug references and the infamous rectal exam,” he said.

That exam, included in the current version, “was my way of showing people that you are in this with me, we are committed now,” Spurlock said. Once the audience is engaged, he hopes viewers will look more closely at the personal and political implications of what they eat.

“The most shocking thing in the whole movie is what we feed kids in schools,” he said. A segment of the feature is devoted to how fast food has influenced the food in school cafeterias and vending machines, and Spurlock discusses it further in a bonus feature interview with Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation.

Spurlock doesn't want fast food outlawed, but he does want consumers to take a more critical look at fast-food claims and their own habits. “All these companies are fantastic at advertising, they are geniuses of propaganda,” he said, citing other fast-food chains' claims that their processed ingredients are “fresh.”

“The fact is, most of us aren't eating this [fast food] as the nutritionists say, once a month,” he said.

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