We caught up with Farm to Fridge film tour director Phil Letten of Mercy for Animals while on a national tour across America of 42 cities and 92 days. The tour van is equipped with huge screen monitors and audio broadcasting Farm to Fridge to thousands of passerbys and garnering much media attention everywhere they go. For those who have not heard, Farm to Fridge is Mercy for Animals’ latest documentary short exposing the systemic cruelty to farm animals that exists in animal agriculture today through their own undercover investigations.
Here’s what Phil had to report:
How many have viewed the film on the tour so far?
Thousands have viewed the film on the truck during the tour. On top of that we have received lots of media attention from TV, radio, and print media which has caused many more to view Farm to Fridge online.
The Farm to Fridge Tour has received coverage from TV, radio, and print media all over the country. In many cities we received stories from multiple media outlets. For example, in Jacksonville, FL we received coverage from five different TV stations with a few of them running more than one story. We were also covered by the main newspaper there. And in Fort Myers we were covered by three TV stations and the main newspaper there. A reporter from the local FOX affiliate said they received more viewer responses from the pre-story (http://youtu.be/YUeg1-1QD4c) they aired than any other Sunday night story in the history of the station. They came back the next day for our events and ran two more stories (http://goo.gl/JcX1p) and (http://youtu.be/4Uq3HO0OPpg).
How many days in all will you be steering this tour?
97 days. The first stop was on March 7th in Las Vegas, NV. The last stop is on June 11th in Salt Lake City, UT.
What are some of the more memorable encounters with people on the tour?
It is always inspiring looking at people while they watch the film. Most people care about animals but have no idea farmed animals are forced to endure so much egregious cruelty during their lives. When they witness it while watching Farm to Fridge many are brought to tears and show interest in adopting a vegan diet.
Explain what happens when you stop in a new destination. Where do you park the van? How does it work?
We are driving a custom-built u-haul sized truck retrofitted with three 80-inch video screens … to inform consumers how animals are treated before reaching our plates. We hold two events in each city, usually in the busiest spots of that city. The lunch time event is the Outreach Event. We park the truck at the planned location, typically in a parallel parking spot on the street. At this time the truck is covered with billboard-sized banners, asking, “How much cruelty can you swallow?” The signs feature images of calves, hens, and pigs confined on factory farms, and urges consumers to “Boycott Animal Abuse. Choose Vegetarian.” At this event activists hand out literature about factory farming and hold signs explaining “Meat = Animal Cruelty.”
In the evening we take the banners off and show our twelve-minute documentary, Farm to Fridge, on the 80-inch video screens.
How much energy does it take to run this tour?
While there is a lot of work that has been done to make this tour what it is, this has been the best experience of my life. I have met so many amazing people all over the country, and it has been a very rewarding experience seeing the impact this tour is having. We have heard from numerous people all over the country who have been moved to adopt a vegan diet after watching Farm to Fridge.
What was the highlight of the tour for you?
The New York City Video Event went on for five hours! People were gathered around the truck watching Farm to Fridge on the truck the entire night. Finally at 1:30 a.m. we decided to shut it down. It was so exciting to meet so many people who expressed interest in adopting a vegan diet. We handed out hundreds of MFA Vegetarian Starter Kits that night.