Directed by: Cyrus Sutton
Released: 2017 (educational)
Year of Production: 2016
Running Time: 64 min
Subtitle Options: English Closed Captions
Subjects: Environmental Studies, Indigenous Studies
A rich and complex tale of a young indigenous scientist's journey through the corn fields of GMO companies and loi patches of traditional Hawaiian elders reveals modern truths and ancient values that can save our food future.
To feed all the humans on the planet, we are going to have to grow as much food in the next 35 years as we have grown since the beginning of civilization.
But our conventional agricultural practices are depleting the earth’s natural resources faster than we are replenishing them.
How are we going to feed the world without destroying the planet we live on?
Island Earth brings this question to life by taking us on the ground to Hawaii, the “ground zero” where all of these issues collide in sharp relief. Less than two centuries ago, native Hawaiians fed their large population through some of the most historically sustainable agricultural practices ever documented. Yet modern-day Hawaii now imports 80-90% of their food supply from elsewhere in the world, due to a complex web of public policy and private interests. Within two generations, the Hawaiians have become canaries in the coal mine for food issues that are affecting the entire planet.
This film captures our moment in time, where two separate paths are being forged at once: one that builds upon the past in the name of progress, and the other that rejects the past in the name of progress. It bears witness to the choices that we are making today that will affect our future no matter what.
2017 WINNER of the Best Film at The Earth Day Film Fest and Official Selection at DOXA 2017 and HIFF 2017
“Island Earth is an eye-opening look into Hawaii as the epicenter for food reform.” – The Manual
“[Cyrus’s] latest film carries much more weight, as he examines how the GMO industry is changing Hawaii with widespread use of pesticides and legislative entanglements, having awakened a citizenry that is not willing to sit by idly as their food supply is determined for them.” – Grind TV
“[Cyrus’s] latest documentary, ‘Island Earth,’ focuses on the land rather than the sea, exploring the many complicated facets of farming in the state of Hawaii—a state that’s rich in fertile soil yet still imports the vast majority of its food.” – Modern Farmer
About the filmmaker
Cyrus Sutton is an Emmy-winning filmmaker based near Portland, Oregon. At 23 Cyrus won an Emmy for his writing and cinematography on Next Wave: A Tsunami Relief Story for Fox Fuel TV.
Today he serves as director of media at Guayaki Yerba Mate and continues to pursue his documentary filmmaking career.