The Fruit Hunters: How Students Got a ‘Taste’ of Documentary Filmmaking

Posted by on May 8, 2013

On April 25, Minnesota School of Business-Richfield’s Internet Marketing Degree Program Chair and instructor, Richard Grossman, along with the 22 students in his Film in Society class, went on an excursion to the 2013 Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival at the St. Anthony Main Theaters in Minneapolis for a special screening of The Fruit Hunters. Richard is the guest blogger for this post.

internet marketing, film classBased on the popular non-fiction book, The Fruit Hunters follows a group of obsessive fruit collectors who are willing to travel to all ends of the Earth to satisfy their addiction for exotic fruits. The film takes the audience deep into the jungles of Latin America and Southeast Asia, as well as a brief stopover in Hollywood, where actor Bill Pullman attempts to create his own fruit commune.

Director Yung Chang (Up The Yangtze) mixes fictional, historical scenarios and CGI animations to tell this quirky and clever tale of a small but determined group of fruit obsessives.  The film students were able to participate in a post-screening Q & A session with the film’s director as well as mingle and sample some exotic fruits at an after party.

Post screening, the students were required to write a mini-review of the film related to specific course criteria. The students shared some very honest and perceptive comments in their reviews, illustrating what they learned from this outing:

  • “I have to be completely honest here. I was not looking forward to this outing one bit. After the outing to St. Anthony Main I can say that I had a blast! Right from the start I was engrossed in the film and its message. As the director stated, he used a higher quality lens so that his audience could get a better sense of the fruit and ALMOST taste it. He did an excellent job of hitting all of our senses while describing the fruit.” – Caitlin Brown
  • “The global impact of this film is not something new to us. Industry has always been the number one enemy of nature and it is the people like the hunters and Chang that help the rest of the planet realize that if something isn’t changed we will lose Earth’s treasures forever.” – Christoph Riesterer
  • “During the Q&A after the film Chang had mentioned the lens for his cameras, providing excellent close-ups to really give us definitions of the fruit. It wouldn’t have been nearly as intriguing to watch if a cherry looked like a red dot, or the figs were just purple blobs.” – Tegan Vorpagel
  • “When you watch the fruit hunters and their sense of obsession of the fruit and finding it and guarding it, it gave us a sense of adventure. It made me want to help them and explore with them. It was definitely a mystery and full of drama. I developed a relationship with each hunter and their obsession with each fruit as the camera got close to them as they passionately tried the fruit they had been stalking for days.” – Sahra Mohamed

I had an opportunity to connect with the film’s director before the evening was over. When told that the class was going to be reviewing his film, Chang requested to read what the students had to say. I will be forwarding the best of the best to his office in Toronto.

By all accounts, the Film Festival excursion was a huge hit. Students experienced an important part of the film industry first-hand, getting a taste of not only documentary filmmaking, but some exotic “miracle fruit” to boot.

 Watch the trailer:

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