film poster The Ants and the Grasshopper, featuring a woman in African dress with her arms crossed

About The Film

Anita Chitaya has a gift; she can help bring abundant food from dead soil, she can make men fight for gender equality, and she can end child hunger in her village. Now, to save her home from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge:

persuading Americans that climate change is real.

Traveling from Malawi to California to the White House, she meets climate skeptics and despairing farmers. Her journey takes her across all the divisions shaping the US, from the rural-urban divide, to schisms of race, class and gender, to the thinking that allows Americans to believe we live on a different planet from everyone else. It will take all her skill and experience to persuade us that we’re all in this together.

This documentary, ten years in the making, weaves together the most urgent themes of our times: climate change, gender and racial inequality, the gaps between the rich and the poor, and the ideas that groups around the world have generated in order to save the planet.

I am blown away. You have found a hero of such grace and intelligence and power, and you had the good sense to get out of the way, center the narrative on her. The film is obviously not about agriculture in the way I expected to be-- it’s much bigger than that. We get to observe history. That’s what ten years on a movie gets you. I feel invested in the project... so wonderful to see it completed. I will be happy to spread the word.

Michael Pollan, Author & Director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism

Filmmaker Biographies

Raj Patel, Co-director / Producer

Raj Patel co-director and producer
Raj Patel is a James Beard Award winning activist and New York Times bestselling writer. He has testified about food and hunger to the US, UK and EU governments, and his book on the food system, Stuffed and Starved, has been translated into a dozen languages. He worked for the World Bank and WTO and was tear-gassed on four continents protesting against them. His academic career spans Oxford, the London School of Economics, Cornell University, the University of California at Berkeley where he taught with Michael Pollan. He is currently a research professor at Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin.

Zak Piper, Co-director / Producer

Zak Piper Co-Director and producer
Zak Piper is an Emmy-winning and Producers Guild Award-winning documentary filmmaker most known for producing the critically acclaimed film Life Itself, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and later won a Critics Choice Award. Zak also co-produced the acclaimed film The Interrupters, which was hailed as one of the year’s best films by The New Yorker, Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, and LA Times. Prior to these films, Zak co-produced At the Death House Door, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and was shortlisted for the Academy Awards. Zak is currently producing or directing a number of documentary projects in development or production.

Anita Chitaya, Narrator

Anita Chitaya, an malwian woman sits in front of a clay brick house
Anita Chitaya is a teacher, activist, farmer, mother and community leader. A devout Catholic,she teaches at her local Sunday School, and also teaches her community about farming and gender equality. She has since the early 2000s been a member of Soils, Food and Healthy Communities.

Rachel Wexler, Producer

Rachel Wexler Producer
Rachel Wexler set up Bungalow Town in 2004 with Jez Lewis, to make highly individual and compelling documentaries for worldwide audiences. Bungalow Town films document an incredible array of stories, subjects and characters. From the story of the Afghan cricket team in Out of the Ashes, a brain surgeon’s work in the Ukraine in The English Surgeon, to a devastating train crash in Japan in Brakeless. Bungalow Town work with broadcasters, foundations and distributors throughout the world. Their films have screened at many A list festivals including: Sheffield DocFest, Sundance, London, SXSW, IDFA and have been awarded dozens of awards, including a Grierson, an Emmy and two Peabodys.

Peter Mazunda, Producer / Cinematographer

Peter Mazunda producer and cinematographer
Peter Mazunda is the Managing Director for Xtra Solutions Communications Group. Peter was trained in Television Engineering, Television Production, Television Journalism and Computer Engineering. He attained his studies in Namibia; Namibia Broadcasting Cooperation, the Training Institute of African Media Communicators Egypt, Thompson Foundation and Deutsche Welle Television Training Centre in Germany. Peter also serves as Advisor to Special Olympics Malawi Board, and was recently assistant to Chiwetel Ejiofor on The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Julie Goldman, Executive Producer

Julie Goldman Executive Producer
Julie Goldman founded Motto Pictures in 2009. She is an Oscar nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer and executive producer of documentary feature films. Julie is producer of Life, Animated and executive producer of Weiner, both of which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. She produced Steve James’ Abacus: Small Enough To Jail, released by PBS Frontline and nominated for the 2018 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, and The Final Year, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and was released by HBO and Magnolia Pictures. Previously, Julie executive produced Emmy Award winning Best of Enemies and several Emmy-nominated films: 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, The Kill Team, Art and Craft and 1971. Julie also produced and executive produced: The Music of Strangers, Indian Point, Solitary, Enlighten Us, Southwest of Salem, Chicken People, Gideon’s Army, Manhunt, God Loves Uganda, The Great Invisible, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and Buck, on the Oscar shortlist and one of 2011’s top five grossing documentaries.

Gordon Quinn, Executive Producer

Gordon Quinn Executive Producer
Gordon Quinn founded Kartemquin Films in 1966 and has been a leading voice in documentary filmmaking for decades. In 2015, the International Documentary Association honored him with a Career Achievement Award. His recent films as executive producer include The Interrupters (2011), The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013), Life Itself (2014), The Homestretch (2014), On Beauty (2014), Almost There (2014), Saving Mes Aynak (2014), In The Game (2015), and the six-part series Hard Earned (2015). Gordon is a supporter of public and community media, and has served on the boards of several organizations including The Illinois Humanities Council, Chicago Access Network Television, and The Public Square Advisory Committee, The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Cynthia Kane, Executive Producer

Cynthia Kane executive Producer
Cynthia Kane co-created DOCday on Sundance Channel in 2002, and shepherded over 150 international and U.S. co-productions for public media at ITVS. More recently, she helped launch Al Jazeera America and the Sunday night documentary strand, Al Jazeera America Presents with series (Kartemquin’s Hard Earned – winner 2016 Alfred I. DuPont- Columbia Awards) and documentaries (Albert Maysles’ final work, In Transit, Leon Gast’s Sporting Dreams, Barbara Kopple’s Shelter, Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s Daisy and Max, Michelle Shephard and Patrick Reed’s Guantanamo’s Child, Marc Levin’s Freeway: Crack in the System, the last two recently nominated for Emmy’s.)

Steve James, Executive Producer

Steve James executive producer
Steve James previous work includes Hoop Dreams; Sundance and IDFA awards winner, Stevie; IDA-winning miniseries The New Americans; The Interrupters, which won an Emmy, Independent Spirit Award, and the DuPont Columbia Journalism Award; Emmy winner, Life Itself, named best documentary by The National Board of Review, and The Producers Guild of America among many others; and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which has earned James a fourth DGA nomination, was one of the National Board of Review’s “Top 5 documentaries of the year,” won the “Best Political Documentary” by The Critics Choice Awards, and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Bring The Ants & The Grasshopper to your community.

Screenings for community events and congregations are free until the end of 2022

African farmer shaking hand with a african woman activist as an Indian Man smiles at the woman in the background. they are standing in a green pasture
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