Socialite Coralie Charriol Paul began a React to Film series on Wednesday, June 10, at the SoHo House with the film Food, Inc., directed by Robert Kenner and produced by Mr. Kenner and Eric Schlosser, author of the eye-opening and stomach-churning book Fast Food Nation.
“This movie really inspired,” said Ms. Paul’s husband, Dennis Paul. Food, Inc., which opens in New York, Los Angles and San Francisco on Friday, June 12, is another in-depth probe of the dark secrets behind the food industry. It’s chock-full of delicious tidbits: Did you know that tomatoes are picked green halfway around the world and ripened with ethylene gas before they make it into your tummy? Or that ammonia is used in beef processing?
The most shocked reaction from the well-heeled private audience came when the screen flashed the average annual income of chicken farmers: $18,000. Cries of “Oh, Jesus,” and “Jesus Christ!” were heard.
React to Film will pre-screen films about issues ranging from overfishing the oceans to child slavery and trafficking, offering Q&A sessions with filmmakers and a cocktail hour at each event. The goal, Ms. Paul said, is to “keep the dialogue going after people leave the movie.” On why she wanted to start the series, she further elaborated: “There’s really no platform for documentary films, especially issue-based documentaries … I’m not a 20-year-old who doesn’t care anymore—I’ve got to leave this world to my kids!”
After the movie, actress Samantha Mathis thanked Mr. Schlosser for “helping to get this movie made,” while publicist Peggy Siegal (“I just got my lips done!”) nodded off. “I don’t really care about food,” Mr. Schlosser said.”What’s really at the heart of it is … power and what happens when power gets corrupted.” Still, the California native makes it to local farmers’ markets about once a week. What does he like to eat in New York? “I try to avoid eating at fast-food and chain restaurants, especially in New York, that’s just sinful! This really is the greatest city in the world for food.”
After the screening, ABC’s John Stossel popped by for the cocktail hour, where guests, including Prince Philippos of Greece, sipped cocktails and grassy-looking health drinks.
Co-host Katie Lee Joel gushed about her favorite places to get local food: “the Union Square greenmarket, the Abington Square greenmarket, in the Hamptons there’s the Green Thumb, and Pike’s.” What does she think about the First Couple eating at locavore eatery Blue Hill? “They were definitely making a political statement with that choice!”
Ms. Mathis, who just moved to New York from California, said she hadn’t gotten around to trying Blue Hill, but loves Robert De Niro’s new venture, Locanda Verde. “It’s spectacular! The extent to which it’s local or organic, I don’t know, but I will be asking.”
Bowery Hotel owner Sean MacPherson, meanwhile, split soon after seeing the film. Perhaps he lost his appetite.