Slow Food Film Festival

Justin Blandford

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Old State Capitol Historic State on Jan. 28 hosts the 9th Annual Slow Food Springfield Film Festival highlighting the slow food movement and Illinois farming.

“These films tell the stories behind our food and can increase awareness and interest in our food system," said Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, the festival chair. 

The event features the documentary “Sustainable” about a central Illinois farmer who became a leader in Chicago’s sustainable food movement. The event also includes 10 short films that were finalists in the 2016 Real Food Media Contest.

The festival begins at 5 p.m. with the short films in the Old State Capitol’s Foundation Hall (level 2). That is followed by a light dinner at 6, and then “Sustainable” starts at 7 p.m. A Q&A will follow.

Admission is $7 for the general public and $5 for members of Slow Food Springfield. Students with a student ID can attend free. 

The event is co-sponsored by Slow Food Springfield, the Old State Capitol Foundation, Spence Farm Foundation and Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. 

 “Sustainable” focuses on Marty Travis, a seventh-generation farmer in central Illinois who watched his land and community fall victim to the pressures of big agribusiness. Determined to create a proud legacy for his son, Marty transforms his farm and pioneers the sustainable food movement in Chicago.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher, Marty Travis and Will Travis of Spence Farm and Erin Meyer, executive director of the Spence Farm Foundation.

The short films were chosen from 160 submissions from 20 countries to the Real Food Films Contest, the only competition for shorts about sustainable food and farming. Films were required to be four minutes or under and feature original voices that lift up underreported stories. Film styles ranged from documentaries to advocacy films to spoken word poetry shorts.

Festival-goer can also buy a light dinner and coffee at 6 p.m. from Denise Perry, the chef/owner of Copper Pot Cooking Studio, and Custom Cup Coffee.

The Old State Capitol may be accessed from the parking garage below building. The garage entrance is on 6th Street, and parking is $1.50 an hour. The garage will be open until 9:30 p.m. The garage can also be accessed from the Adams Street Plaza. Enter the small brick building with the green metal roof and take the elevator or stairs down one level. 

More information is available at or by contacting Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant at 217-341-0398 or

The Old State Capitol served as the seat of Illinois government from 1839 to 1876. Abraham Lincoln served as a legislator there, launched his 1858 Senate campaign there with his famous “House Divided” speech, and used it as his unofficial transition headquarters after being elected president.

The Old State Capitol is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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