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BUGS at UK Green Film Festival

The UK Green Film Festival returns to our cinemas with a stunning programme of titles from around the world exploring issues ranging from the rights of local communities to global concerns such as climate change, energy, pollution and food – insects to be exact.

With claims of incredible nutritional value low environmental impact and delicious ‘new’ flavours, edible insects have had a lot of hype recently. What’s the truth behind the headlines? And why is an ingredient eaten by two billion worldwide so ‘new’ in the west?

BUGS: The Film revolves around the main research team of Nordic Food Lab’s edible insect project – Josh Evans, Ben Reade and Roberto Flore. Combining curiosity with expertise, their project takes them in search of tastes and techniques which might be new to them but aren’t to the people they learn from. We catch up with Josh to find out more…

Can you tell us a little about how BUGS: The Film came about and what the audience can expect?
BUGS came out of a larger project that I led at Nordic Food Lab, a non-profit lab that does open-source research on the gastronomy of the Nordic region, in Copenhagen. We got funding to research the gastronomic potential of insects for three years, from 2013 to 2016, and we knew we wanted to make some kind of film about it, especially from all of the fieldwork we were planning on doing. But we needed a filmmaker – and one that would be excited about traveling the world with us eating bugs! My colleague at the time, Ben, got connected with Andreas through some of his friends, and we met at got along brilliantly and the rest is history.

Termite Queen with mango

If you made this film again in ten or twenty years’ time, would you expect to see anything change in that time?
Certainly. Though many of the insect-eating traditions we investigated are really old (and generally, humans have been eating all manner of insects since before we were humans!), many are changing rapidly as a combined result of habitat loss, urbanisation, changing land use patterns, climate change, and a host of other factors. So some insects we might see less of, but some we might see more of! It’s very unpredictable, as the market is growing, and harvesting and production methods are developing and changing to meet those demands. In some ways we caught this movement, if you can call it that, at a good time, when there is a lot of optimism in the air, and while there is still potential for it to go in lots of different ways.


Is there one thing that we can be doing day-to-day to eat more sustainably?
In a word, diversity! Eat a little bit of lots of things, especially plants. It’s a good way to link up taste, healthy diets, and ecological resilience.

Andreas, Josh and Roberto chasing Japanese hornets in Kushihara, Japan

And finally, director Andreas Johnsen is joining us for a Q&A after the film – is there anything our audience should ask him?
Ask him about some of the times when we got to film him! And what some of his favourite moments were on fieldwork – both images he got from behind the camera, and experiences we had together.


BUGS: The Film will be screening as part of the UK Green Film Festival on Monday 8 May, followed by a live Skype Talk with director Andreas Johnsen.

See more films at this years’ UK Green Film Festival from 4–8 May

About UK Green Film Festival
The UK Green Film Festival is the UK’s annual environmental film festival. Taking place each year over a single week up and down the country the festival screens some of the very best films from around the world exploring some of the big environmental issues of the day

Photos: Andreas Johnsen