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What can the slimy, putrid, multi-species world of rot teach us about ourselves?

A printer-friendly version of this page 22 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Joel Penner. Anna Sigrithur
Produced by Joel Penner. Anna Sigrithur
Photography, Animation, Editing: Joel Penner
Score: Randolph Peters, Joshua Maikawa
Writing & Narration: Anna Sigrithur
Biofilm Productions

"Gorgeous...will make audiences...reconsider how fundamental, natural, and necessary decomposition is for life." Amy Zanne, Prof. Biology, Univ of Miami
This visual exploration of decay begs questions about our relationships with other species.

WROUGHT begins with that universal moment of disappointment: despite all best efforts, our food has gone bad. But instead of turning away in disgust, WROUGHT zooms in with curiosity through timelapse photography.

WROUGHT explores how we construct categories for the world. It examines the categories of spoil, ferment, compost and rot, coaxing audiences to decompose the binary of human and non-human. We are forged from the relationships that transgress such binaries; we are all, indeed, wrought.

Grade Level: 1-12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2024     Copyright Date: 2022
DVD ISBN: 1-961192-16-0

"Wrought is an audiovisual smorgasbord that uniquely captures the mesmerizing microorganisms that intersect our daily lives, from beginning to end. A tantalizing treat for scientists, artists, and wonderers alike!"
Jennifer Salerno, Assistant Professor of Environmental Microbiology, George Mason University

"Microbial science has unveiled complexity at increasingly fine spatial resolution, and many are realizing that there is new beauty at that small scale. These microbes have character. For several decades studying fungal biology, I have used the tagline 'with decomposition comes character.' Wrought echoes the idea that decay is not loss - decay is a transformation. This film will resonate with students who naturally want to understand the character of organisms, even when those organisms are individually microscopic."
Dr. Jonathan Schilling, Professor of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of Minnesota

"Using gorgeous time-lapse footage to draw the viewer in, Wrought showcases decaying organisms in all their glory: We witness the process of the loss of edible food to composting of waste to production of new food via fermentation to recycling of dead organisms. The film will make audiences move beyond considering what is good and bad to reconsider how fundamental, natural, and necessary decomposition is for life."
Amy Zanne, Professor of Biology, University of Miami

"Wrought is a playful and provocative meditation on rot, a metabolic tapestry of technicolor microscopy and exuberant wordplay. It is also an invitation to see the world in all of its abject, intimate, animate complexity."
Caitlin DeSilvey, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Exeter, Author, Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving

"Absolutely stunning...In our current plastic-filled and technology-focused world, this resonates particularly strongly and allows us to reconsider the natural steps that are essential to the cycle of life...Highly nourishing food for thought, just don't let it sit too long."
Cosmos Magazine

"Beautiful imagery...Sharp writing...Wrought will convince you to look differently at the parts of life generally deemed disgusting. As worms wriggle around in a pile of old vegetables, or as white mold creeps its way across discarded fruit, you might question whether you're watching something revolting - you might be watching something beautiful."
Ben Waldman, Winnipeg Free Press

"Consistently engaging and often beautiful...Progressing logically from food spoilage to food fermentation to compost to animal decomposition, Wrought tastefully covers topics that may cause some viewers discomfort, and never sensationalizes. I view it as appropriate for middle-school-aged audiences and above, and can picture different portions (spoilage, fermentation, compost) being covered in different lessons. At the college level, I could see incorporating 3-6 minute portions into lecture, or playing the full video as part of a lab session or assigning it for out of class watching; I would use it in sections on food spoilage and food fermentations."
Heather Hallen-Adams, Associate Professor of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"No film before Wrought has woven decay, fermentation and decomposition with such rich narrative and vivid images...Wrought mesmerizes and dissects...It teems with life and deconstructs decay into a new vocabulary."
Corrado Nai, Small Things Considered

"Wrought is a visually-compelling examination of cultural framings of rot. Beginning with a commentary on rotting foods and the microorganisms that play complex roles in our food systems, the film becomes a thoughtful meditation on the fleeting stability of life, and the transformative nature of decomposition. Wrought is disturbing in the best way: it disrupts preconceived notions of decomposition and the social values often connected to such processes."
Kate Parizeau, Associate Professor of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics, University of Guelph

"Wrought is a beautiful tribute to some of the most valuable, yet often underappreciated, organisms on this planet. Whether you call them decomposers or saprotrophs or detritivores, these microbes conduct the essential transformations that allow life to continue to exist. Wrought reminds us that life is about constant change, helping us pause and appreciate these transformations and, in doing so, hopefully replace our 'revulsion with reverence.'"
Jennifer DeBruyn, Professor of Environmental Microbiology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

"Decomposers are essential for cycling nutrients and sustaining new life, but we usually react to them with disgust, not admiration. Enter Wrought, a wildlife documentary for the microbial world. This beautiful film uses time-lapse footage to show us the vitality and wonder in decay."
Tobin Hammer, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California-Irvine

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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and chapters

Awards and Festivals
Best New Vision Film, International Wildlife Film Festival
Emerging Filmmaker Award, Yorkton Film Festival
Avant-Garde Award, Imagine Science Film Festival
Best Overall Film & Audience Award, Fungi Film Festival
Audience Award, Vox Popular Media Arts Festival
Best Overall Film, Eating at the Edges Film Festival
Best Short Documentary, Naturvision
Best Experimental/Animation, SCINEMA International Science Film Festival
Best Short Documentary, Ecozine Film Festival
Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
CinemAmbiente Environmental Film Festival
Athens International Film & Video Festival
IFF Ekotopfilm
Cucalorus Film Festival
Maui Film Festival
PARISCIENCE International Science Film Festival
Columbus International Film and Animation Festival
Seoul International Food Film Festival
Devour! The Food Film Fest
...and many more

Death And Dying
Earth Science
Food And Nutrition
Food Science
Life Science
Plant Science

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It's Gotten Rotten
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Becoming Animal
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A Will for the Woods
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AWARE explores boundary-pushing research in the understanding of consciousness.

A portrait of James Lovelock, originator of the theory that the earth is a self-regulating system maintaining the conditions that allow its perpetuation.

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