Bugs On The Menu: 291 Film Company Travels To Africa To Film Insects as Food Documentary
March 17, 2014
Victoria-based 291 Film Company is about to embark on the production of Bugs on the Menu, a documentary about using insects as an alternate food source.

The documentary will take Gemini Award-winning director/cinematographer Ian Toews to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana where he will film people harvesting Mopane caterpillars, grasshoppers, and makeke (soldier termites) for food. Toews will also travel to Amsterdam to interview Professor Arnold van Huis, one of the authors of the UN paper “Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security.” Shooting begins Monday, March 24th.

The answer to feeding the world’s expanding population may be smaller than you might think. Insects are a great source of protein and nutrients, and are eaten by an estimated two billion people worldwide. Toews will travel to countries where this practice is common, and follow people working to bring edible insects to western cultures.

Although he has been making documentary series television for over fifteen years (including Landscape as Muse, Untamed Gourmet, and Great Minds of Design), Bugs on the Menu will be Toews’ first theatrical feature-length documentary. It will be filmed on 291 Film Company’s Arri Alexa, the state-of-the-art 4k camera, which has become the standard for Hollywood features. The Alexa was used to shoot the past three Academy Award winners in cinematography (Hugo, Life of Pi, and Gravity). The camera is perfectly suited to capture the picturesque African landscapes and vibrant cultures that will be filmed for Toews’ upcoming documentary.

Victoria’s Andrew Naysmith will be traveling with Toews on the documentary’s first expedition to Amsterdam and South Africa. Naysmith’s film Tide Lines was the only local film to premiere at the international Victoria Film Festival this year. The film followed two brothers for three years as they circumnavigated the globe by sailboat to document the effects of plastic pollution in our oceans.

Bugs on the Menu was created by Toews and developed by Toews and Victoria’s Mark Bradley. In addition to directing and shooting, Toews is producing the documentary, along with Bradley.


“I haven’t tried the Canadian versions, myself yet, in Canada, we can already find edible grasshoppers and crickets. Food security is becoming a bigger issue, and as the world’s population expands, the western world will need to start looking at alternate forms of protein, like various kinds of insects.”

- Ian Toews, Producer/Director/Cinematographer

Bugs on the Menu director/cinematographer Ian Toews can be reached in Victoria for further comment before his trip to South Africa and Amsterdam. Toews and Naysmith will be in Amsterdam from March 21st to 27th, and in South Africa from March 28th to April 8th. They will be providing photos to the press along their journey.

Bugs on the Menu was developed with the participation of CBC documentary channel, the Canada Media Fund, and CreativeBC.

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