A Red Deer filmmaker travelled the world to learn more about genetically modified organisms (GMO).
After raising $800,000 from farmers and small agriculture businesses in Canada, 28-year-old Nick Saik began production on his feature-length documentary “Know GMO” and is currently producing the web-series “Learn GMO.”
A GMO is a plant, animal or microorganism that has its DNA altered through genetic engineering.
Filming for the documentary lasted a year, between 2015 and 2016, and brought him from Alberta to all over the world, including Kenya, Uganda, Argentina and Hawaii, to interview farmers, anti-GMO groups and more.
Growing up in Red Deer, Saik’s father was a farmer who was pro-GMO. While living in British Columbia after college, Saik noticed a lot of people there are strongly against the use of GMOs, he said.
“I knew different facts than what I was seeing there,” Saik said. “I wanted to build a bridge between those two worlds that I’ve come to know.”
Saik and his crew then began travelling the world to find out what impact GMOs have in Canada, the United Stated and less developed countries.
In those countries they don’t have the same access to GMOs, Saik said, which was a problem for farmers he spoke with.
“We’ve seen farmers begging for it over there and we see them not having access to it … They should have access to the same tools to modern tool that North American farmers have access to,” he said.
North American farmers have had the choice to use GMOs for the past 20 years, Saik said.
The purpose of “Know GMO” and “Learn GMO” is not to say it’s the “be-all and end-all solution to feeding a population,” Saik said.
“I just want to see a positive discourse about the use of GMOs,” he added
Filming for the documentary is completed, however post-production is still ongoing. There’s currently no estimated time of release.
In the meantime, Saik has used the interviews he gathered for his film for the web-series called “Learn GMO.” Currently four episodes in, the series follows Saik and his father Rob arguing about GMOs with interview clips used in between.
The series has been well-received so far on social media, Saik said.
“We have farmers and the general public talking to each other on Facebook and the discourse is for the most part respectful, which is pretty cool,” he said.
The two will look to film the rest of the episodes for the web-series over the next two months.
If you’re interested in watching episodes, head over to www.knowgmo.ca.