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THE BODY FIGHTS BACK interview with director: Marian Vosumets

naised.pngBy Emmanuel Itier

Q: What inspired you to direct this documentary?

 

Marian: First of all I was fascinated by the anti-diet movement that is happening in the UK, or Australia or the U.S. For me coming from a small country like Estonia it had not been seen or heard of. Therefore, I was very taken and impressed by that. As well as being impressed by the people behind this movement. On top of this I have had years of disorder eating. Therefore, the timing for me was perfect to study this topic. I met so many fantastic and amazing people along the way of making this documentary, which was my first one. I have a background as a broadcast journalist, so this was a natural fit for me to get into this endeavor. At first, I really didn’t know if I was going to make a mini-series or an hour movie or a feature. All the people in the film have a dazzling personality. By the end of shooting, I knew I had enough material to turn it into my debut feature documentary. I can’t believe how strong this movie is.

 

Q: Tell me about the challenges making this film?

 

Marian: Honestly, I didn’t face too many challenges. I was prepared not to have my phone calls returned or to be declined. But, in fact, 99% of the people I approached replied positively to be included in this film. I think the reason is that this is the first film to tackle with diet culture in this way. Usually lots of these types of movies are shaming the people who have a bigger body, but this film takes a different perspective. And all of the expert about body image or nutrition were very happily surprised by this film happening and they were very supportive of its making. And some of them are big personalities talking regularly at the BBC and some of them have written many books. The main challenge was traveling constantly between the UK and Estonia; this became a lifestyle! I went back and forth for over a year and a half, so it was quite tiring. I also had to invent myself as a producer since I had never done something like this before; there was lots of improvisation to make it happen. It was quite a journey. Now I better prepared and a lot wiser for the next movie.

 

Q: What are the main messages and themesexplored with this Doc?

 

Marian: I hope people will feel a sense of relief and that you are allowed to speak about these topics. There is a lot of shame and guilt around the world of dieting, and the size of our bodies. I hope people will feel relieved after watching this documentary. I also hope this will trigger conversations within families, between communities, and between partners, to discuss some of these issues relating to body image and eating and excessive training. Usually, people who have these types of issues don’t talk about it and think there is something wrong with them. I hope this will give hope to people that it’s ok to talk about these struggles and there is nothing wrong about them, that they should not feel any shame nor guilt. I hope also young people, teenagers, will be saved from all the toxicityfound in social medias such as Instagram. It puts some much pressure on how people should look like, for women as much as for men. I hope that we are going to place to focus on the food industry, the food environment and start asking questions such as why the least nutritious food is the cheapest, and why there is so much of it and it’s so visually enticing when you go to shop in a market. Why is nutritious food so much more expensive? I hope we will put the focus away from blaming the individual and start asking some hard political questions why things are the way they are. I hope we will reframe the war against obesity. I hope this film is a push toward the better solutions. 

 

Q: How difficult was it to find distribution and promote this film during covid?

 

Marian: Yes, this was an insane challenge. I was very lucky to premiere our Doc at the “TallinBlack Nights Film Festival” (https://poff.ee/en/ ) based in Tallin, capital of Estonia. From there I reached out to over 35 distributors and finally a very nice company, Gravitas Ventures, picked it up for distribution. This is a massive honor for me, and I hope many people will be able to watch this inspiring movie. At the end of the summer, I’m moving to London to get my master-degree in film. And I see myself making more movies. I love to explore the struggles that make us Human. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

 

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