Meat the Future is a timely documentary about “cell-based” meat, also referred to as “cultivated” meat, a food science that grows real meat from animal cells in a controlled and clean environment; a revolution in food production, proposing a sustainable way to feed the world in the future without the need to breed, raise and slaughter animals. At the forefront of this urgent new frontier is cardiologist Dr. Uma Valeti, the co-founder and CEO of Upside Foods, (previously Memphis Meats) one of the leading start-ups in the field. From a meatball which cost $18,000 per pound in 2016 to the world’s first cell-based poultry in 2017 for half the cost, the film follows Valeti over three years as the cost of production continues to plummet and consumers eye the birth of this industry.
Documentaries are powerful platforms to unveil new ideas and motivate social change. After spending years making consciousness-raising films filmed around the globe, and after the successful release of The Ghosts in Our Machine, I was looking to follow a viable, solution-focused story, and in 2015 came across the emergence of “cellular agriculture.” If growing real meat from animal cells without the need to raise and slaughter animals was indeed underway, I hoped to find a personal entry-point. After meeting Dr. Uma Valeti, the visionary co-founder and CEO of Upside Foods, (previously Memphis Meats) I felt certain there was a film. Securing unique access to Uma and his team, and to Bruce Friedrich and his think tank organization The Good Food Institute, provides an exclusive vantage point to chronicle the birth of an industry over three and a half years. Its revolutionary promise and journey into the world is a story that stands the test of time. – Liz Marshall