UN World Food Programme

8 Documentaries That Will Keep Students Engaged Over The Summer

The documentaries on this list will ensure that your students stay engaged on hunger issues, even when school is out. In this photo from "A Place at the Table," one of the featured families cooks a meal together. (Photo: Magnolia Pictures)

As the school year comes to an end in many parts of the world, you may be wondering how to keep students engaged on hunger issues throughout the summer. Movie nights likely sit near the top of your students’ list of things to do this summer. By using this popular activity to your advantage, you can keep your lessons on hunger and food assistance fresh in the minds of your classes.

Here’s our list of documentary films to suggest to students for their summer viewing, in alphabetical order:

A Place at the Table

This film is a fascinating look at food insecurity in the United States and its widespread impacts. By telling the stories of people in many different settings across the country, the film explores the impacts of poverty on hunger, limitations of federal food assistance and the health impacts of an inexpensive diet. This film was the 2013 winner of the Pare Lorentz Award from the International Documentary Association. (Directors: Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush, 2012, 84 minutes)

Here is the trailer.

Fed Up

Sugar is the focus of this eye-opening film. In the United States, obesity is widespread and skyrocketing. This Sundance-award nominated film takes aim at the junk food industry, focusing on the link between the sugary foods and the obesity epidemic. (Stephanie Soechtig, 2014, 92 minutes)

Food Inc.

Food Inc. takes aim at the regulators and producers of food in the United States. By detailing the methods by which our food is produced and the powers of the food industry, this Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning film exposes the consumer to potential dangers in the foods we buy and encourages us to analyze the foods we eat. (Robert Kenner, 2008, 94 minutes)

Here is the trailer.

The Men Who Made Us Fat (Series)

This BBC documentary series analyzes the factors contributing to obesity, from marketing campaigns for junk food to the addictive qualities of our food. There are three episodes in the series. (Maninderpal Sahota, 2012, Three episodes, 1 hour each)

Watch the episodes here.

Super Size Me

This intriguing and occasionally disturbing Oscar-nominated film analyzes obesity, poor nutrition and the power of the fast food industry in the United States. By eating McDonald’s products at every meal for an entire month, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock documents firsthand the detrimental impact of poor nutrition. This film is the winner of nine awards, including a directing award from Sundance Film Festival. (Morgan Spurlock, 2004, 100 minutes)

Thought for Food

This short documentary is perfect for anyone who has ever wondered how to use their own skills to fight hunger. This shares the stories of innovative students around the world who have come up with new ways to solve some of the biggest food security issues. (Oscar Verpoort, Max Maloney, 2013, 21 minutes)

You can watch it here.

Unser täglich Brot (Our Daily Bread)

This documentary is absent of narration, but the pictures speak for themselves. It focuses on industrial food production and high-tech farming. This film is the winner of multiple awards including the Special Jury Award from the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival and the Best Feature Length Documentary from the Ashland Independent Film Festival (Oregon, US). (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2005, 92 minutes)

Here is the trailer.

We Feed the World

This award winning documentary takes a critical look at the origin and production of our food by highlighting the contradiction between global hunger in the developing world and the overproduction of food in the developed world. This film is the winner of the best documentary award from the Guild of German Art House Cinemas and winner of two film awards from Croatia's Motovun Film Festival. (Erwin Wagenhofer, 2005, 96 minutes)

WFP does not necessarily support the views of each film. Do you have other suggestions for our list? Send them to wfp.youth@wfp.org