2008 · Unrated · 1h 28m
Engrossing and eye-opening, King Corn is a fun and crusading journey into the digestive tract of our fast food nation where one ultra-industrial, pesticide-laden, heavily-subsidized commodity dominates the food pyramid from top to bottom – corn. Fueled by curiosity and a dash of naivet‚, college buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis return to their ancestral home of Greene, Iowa to figure out how a modest kernel conquered America.
With the help of some real farmers, oodles of fertilizer and government aid, and some genetically modified seeds, the friends manage to grow one acre of corn. Along the way, they unlock the hilarious absurdities and scary but hidden truths about America’s modern food system.
About the Filmmakers
King Corn was produced by Docurama and directed by Aaron Woolf. Find out more about the film at kingcorn.net.
“The director, Aaron Woolf, and his co-producers and subjects, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, have tried to make it so with “King Corn,” a cultural and scientific history of the crop. Their film is a gentle, meandering entry in the Truth-Seeking Comic Hero genre, as practiced by Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock.” – Matt Zoller Seitz. “Lost in the Maize.” New York Times. 12 Oct 2007
“King Corn is a humorous and touching documentary about two best friends who decide to move to Iowa to grow an acre of corn after finding out through laboratory hair analysis that their bodies are primarily made out of corn. But this is not your typical buddy picture. While it traces a year in the life of two friends, the film focuses on the history of corn in modern America and the filmmakers’ relationship with the crop they’ve decided to grow.” – Grace Communications. “Film Review: King Corn.”
“King Corn tells the truth. No one in my area wants to rent a farm with farm buildings. Farm management experts at […] advise tearing down most, if not all, buildings. At one time there were neighboring ‘ghost farmsteads’ with trees, orchards, but no mailboxes. Most of those remnants are now gone. I’ve burned down all my wooden buildings, except for the ‘century house’. I’m 75. When I’m gone someone else can raze that. The impoverishment and de-humanizing of Iowa is deliberate government policy, the opposite of some European countries. Our present system does work well for huge agricultural supply and commodity conglomerates. High tariffs on imported cane sugar exacerbate the problem. The goal is to keep Americans eating inferior corn sugar products at protected prices. It takes a lifetime of on-farm experience to successfully operate a viable ‘sustainable agriculture’ farm. Such expertise is dying or dead. Iowans raise ‘export kids’ to find careers in other states. King Corn tells the true story on many levels. The rationale for providing much food at low cost is deeply flawed and unsustainable, but highly appealing to the ‘sound bite’ crowd. Food that is truly ‘good for you’ may cost twice as much in stores and four times as much in restaurants. Are you ready, willing and able to pay for good quality rather than poor quantity?” – Joel Leenaars, Iowa Corn Farmer, Amazon
“Very interesting look into production and storage of corn. Would like to have seen more information regarding all the multitude of things that corn is used for, and how heavily saturated everything in our environment is with corn and corn derivatives. This wasn’t quite as ‘information packed’ as I hoped. More just a novice’s look into the world of farming corn. As a person who has corn allergy, I have discovered much more on my own about corn than this video actually shows. Well presented, at least.” – Moonkatz, Amazon
“Very insightful documentary about the corn crop in America, how it impacts our diet and eating habits, and how much federal government (US tax payers’) money is spent to help agriculture and family farming of this crop. What a surprise to hear one expert say high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has no nutritional value at all, and another expert mention that the American government, by subsidizing this product (HFCS) is not helping the conditions of diabetes and obesity among Americans. What is truly saddening is that we as a nation are beyond the point of No Return as far as our being tied to King Corn is concerned. In some way we are different, and at the same time, similar to the cows in the feed lots: we eagerly consume the corn by-products placed in front of us as “food”. The difference is we know or can be taught that we are digging our own graves through our diet and eating habits -but collectively take no corrective actions. The livestock have no knowledge of their impending doom by slaughter. Our and death of the livestock benefitting the conglomerates of food manufacturers in America. Very insightful documentary.” – CE Carter, Amazon