A couple months ago, corporate industrial ag interests in Minnesota attempted to pull the plug on the premier of Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story, a documentary about the impacts of input intensive agriculture on the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. It backfired, resulting a huge public outcry and a bigger audience for the film than it otherwise would have had. This week history appears to be repeating itself in Canada.
Landscape Ontario (the trade association representing the province's commercial lawn care industry) convinced Canada Blooms (the country's largest flower and garden festival) to cancel a screening of A Chemical Reaction that had been planned as part of the festival. The documentary tells the story of the movement to ban the use of pesticides in landscaping and gardening, so it's not hard to see why Landscape Ontario would prefer to see the movie go away. (Full disclosure: I make a brief appearance in the film.)
According to the filmmaker's blog, the contract had already been signed and a press release issued when the news came that Canada Blooms was backing out. The backlash has already begun: the movie's supporters have pledged to find an alternative venue to screen the film in Toronto during the festival, and the issue is starting to get attention in the blogosphere. I predict that as with Troubled Waters, in the end this controversy will only generate even more interest for the film than it has garnered already.