In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, above,
In “King Corn”, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, above, discover that almost everything Americans eat contains corn. PHOTO: Mosaic Films Inc.


“King Corn” (2007) is a documentary about two young men, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, who, after graduating from college, go to Iowa to grow an acre of corn. They discover that to grow crops on soil that has been farmed too much, they need to use chemical fertilizers, genetically-modified seeds and pesticides. Cheney and Ellis also discover that the corn they are growing is not for corn on the cob that people eat but for processed food ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup and feed for cows used in the meat and dairy industries.

“King Corn” leaves out a very important part of the history of corn. The movie says “Native corn originated in southern Mexico, but found a happy home in Iowa.” It doesn’t mention that native peoples bred it over thousands of years from its original state as a grass and that people transplanted it to Iowa.

The movie does a good job of exposing problems with the current ways the food industry uses corn, and the environmentally-damaging things required to grow it. The movie also uses stop-motion animation, which is a creative addition to the movie and makes concepts in the film clearer.

“King Corn” was written by Cheney, Ellis, Aaron Wolf and Jeffrey K. Miller, and was directed by Aaron Wolf.

Zazil Davis-Vazquez, 16, is a student in Queens, New York.