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News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green's film What's For Dinner? to be featured in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 3/21/14

Brighter Green's short film What's For Dinner? was recently selected to appear in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It appeared on March 19th at 12PM in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, along with a discussion partnering with the China Environment Forum.

Associate Sangamithra Iyer Publishes eBook 3/5/14

Brighter Green Associate Sangamithra Iyer publishes an eBook entitled The Lines We Draw distributed by Hen Press, the publishing arm of Our Hen House. The book explores the boundaries — physical, biological, and ethical — evolved out of a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research, and is expanded into a larger discussion about ethics.

Brighter Green Releases New Policy Paper on Industrialized Dairy in Asia 2/20/14

Brighter Green releases their newest policy paper Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia exploring the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production in Asia and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies. You may access the paper here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Ivy League Vegan Conference 2/7/14

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Sangamithra Iyer present a session entitled "The Global Diet & Sustainability: Multi-country Perspectives" at the Ivy League Vegan Conference at Princeton University. The conference is in its third year and is dedicated to exploring veganism and bioethics.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Launches Chinese Website 1/1/14

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? launches Chinese website. This will increase awareness of the issues raised in What's For Dinner? and allow individuals in China to learn more about the film.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Signs Distribution Deal 12/20/13

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? signs with Icarus Films, a well known
independent film distributor, to help ensure that What's For Dinner? is screened widely.

Brighter Green End-of-Year Newsletter 12/19/13

Take a look at our most recent Brighter Green newsletter where we announce some of our recent accomplishments as well as what we have planned for 2014. You can read the newsletter here.

Executive Director Mia MacDonald on Katerva Awards Panel 12/6/13

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald participated on the Food Security Impact panel as a part of the Katerva Awards.

At COP 19, Global Landscapes Forum Calls for Change 11/27/13

COP 19's Global Landscapes Forum, where Brighter Green co-sponsored a side event, released a statement calling for a new approach to tackling climate change, food insecurity, and poverty saying that "fragmentation is our enemy". The statement calls for the need to "work together across landscapes".

Brighter Green Submits Policy Recommendations at Global Landscapes Forum 11/18/13

Brighter Green submits policy recommendations with Global Forest Coalition after the networking panel session "Land, landscapes, livestock, and farms". For more information please read about Brighter Green's involvement in COP 19 here.

Brighter Green in Outreach Magazine at COP 19 11/15/13

Brighter Green publishes an article entitled "Industrial animal agriculture: acknowledging industrial livestock production as a driver of forest loss" in Outreach, a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development distributed at COP 19. The article is based on a project addressing livestock production as a driver of deforestation between Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition.

Brighter Green Cosponsors a Panel at the Global Landscapes Forum at COP 19 11/14/13

Brighter Green is cosponsoring a panel at the Global Landscapes Forum in Warsaw at COP 19. The forum, with exhibitions and panels, will focus on environmental change and development, linking farming, forestry, and other land uses. Geoffrey Evans from Humane Society International [HSI] will be speaking for Brighter Green, HSI, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The forum will take place from November 16-17, 2013 in Warsaw.

Brighter Green Produces Policy Document with Human Society International and the World Society for the Protection of Animals 11/11/13

Brighter Green, Humane Society International, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, produced a policy document making a case for why the Conference of Parties (COP 19) should address animal agriculture and the global climate crisis. The document will be distributed at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland from November 11-22, 2013.

BG and the Global Forest Coalition Expand Biodiversity Laws in Joint Paper 10/28/13

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition expand biodiversity laws on their joint paper: Industrial Agriculture, Livestock Farming, and Climate Change: Global Social, Cultural, Ecological, and Ethical Impacts of an Unsustainable Industry.

View News Archive


What's For Dinner? Documentary

To visit the film's official web site, click here.

What's For Dinner? is distributed by Icarus Films in North America. For information on prices and screenings please contact them here. For purchases or screenings outside of North America please email us at

Trailer music "UISTS" courtesy of XPURM.
To see the trailer on Vimeo, click here.

Brighter Green is trying to answer a big question: can people in the developing world eat as much meat and dairy as people in the industrialized countries without destroying the planet? And do they really want to? What's For Dinner? explores these issues through the medium of film.

To complement the film, Brighter Green has created a supplemental viewing guide to facilitate screenings of the film, including pre- and post-viewing questions, background information, and resources for further research. Please refer to this guide for information about acquiring a copy of the film or accessing an online screener. Because of the short length of the film (running time of thirty minutes), it can easily be paired with other documentaries in a class or series.

What's For Dinner? follows the rapid rise of animal product consumption in China, where consumption of pork—the country's most popular meat—has doubled over the past ten years. Since China recently opened its doors to foreign agribusiness, both Western and home-grown fast food chains are now commonplace in urban areas, and contribute to a $28 billion-a-year business in the country.

None of this would be possible without the rapid adoption of a U.S.-style system of intensive production. But strains are showing: manure and other run-off from so-called "factory farms” that can house thousands of pigs, chickens, or ducks are fouling groundwater and rivers. Only two generations after a national famine killed millions, nearly a quarter of Chinese adults are overweight or obese, as are as many as one in five children. Diet-related chronic diseases now kill more people in China than any other cause.

What's For Dinner? sheds new light on the climate, public health, food security, workers' rights, and ethical concerns of China taking this path.

Interested in organizing a community or university screening, or home viewing? Please visit for details.


Here are stills and short bios of each of the characters featured in the film:
What's For Dinner Character Bios 1

Zhou Shuzhen is a retired pig farmer who worked at Ten Thousand Pig Farm in Jiangxi province

Xiao Muxiu is a pig farmer at Ten Thousand Pig Farm, whose small-scale business is threatened by the fluctuating price of pork.

Wu Xiaohong works in Beijing on animal welfare issues.

Yi Shengming is a pig farmer in Yi village, near Ji'an City in Jianxi province.

Wang Ronghua is a young livestock entrepreneur invested in pig and poultry farms, and is building a new pig facility in his hometown, which he hopes to expand.

What's For Dinner Character Bios 2

Yu Li is the owner of Vegan Hut, a health-conscious vegan restaurant in Beijing, which he opened after learning about the significant role of livestock in global warming in the 2006 UN report, Livestock's Long Shadow.

Xie Zheng is a pop star and activist who founded the vegetarian advocacy group, “Don't Eat Friends".

Dr. Tian Yongsheng is a government official and long-time vegetarian who worries about the ecological impacts of feeding a growing livestock population.

Wen Bo is one of China's leading environmentalists, working for National Geographic's Global Exploration Fund for China.

Xie Hongying owns Donald Macky restaurant, a home-grown Chinese fast food outlet in Ji'an City.


What's For Dinner? is directed by award-winning filmmaker Jian Yi who led an all-Chinese crew that included assistant director Eva Song, producer Douglas Xiao, and cinematographer Pan Kewu.

Jian Yi is an independent filmmaker and cultural activist working on topics related to religion, education, environmental conservation, globalization, history, and other cultural issues. He founded ARTiSIMPLE Studio in 2005 and launched IFChina Original Studio, through which he works on collecting social memories with long-time collaborator Douglas Xiao. Jian taught at Communications University of China for five years and was a Yale World Fellow, an Open Society Institute Fellow, an Asian Cultural Council grantee, and an India-China Fellow.

Interview with Jian Yi about the making of the film:

Brighter Green collaborated on What's For Dinner? with Karin Chien of dGenerate Films, and Susannah Ludwig of Snapdragon Films.


Versions of the film have screened at:


Follow the production process through our blogs. Learn about who and what Jian Yi and his crew filmed, and see what went into the making of What's For Dinner?

Director Jian Yi Screens Clips of "What's For Dinner?" at the Apple Store, Beijing. February 17th, 2010

Copenhagen Screening: SRO. December 18th, 2009

Along The Pearl River: Manufacturing, A Multi-Course Meal, and a Meta Narrative. September 4th, 2009

Guangdong: Pigs, Pollution, and Politics. September 3rd, 2009

Down on the Ten Thousand Pig Farm. August 21st, 2009

Two Lunches. August 19th, 2009

Mr. Wang Builds His Pig Farm. August 13th, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Yu's Famous Vegan Diner. August 10th, 2009

From Rockstars to Analysts, Chinese Talk About Vegetarianism, Animal Rights, Climate Change. August 7th, 2009

"What's For Dinner?": Filming Begins. July 30th, 2009


Our Hen House podcast Episode 180: “You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”


Click here for the film's IMDB page.

View trailers for Jian Yi's documentary and feature films on ARTiSIMPLE's YouTube channel.

Click here for Jian Yi's Director's Statement for the film.

Jian Yi was invited to speak at the Apple Store in Sanlitun, Beijing as part of a series featuring Chinese directors. See clips of his interview, including scenes from What's For Dinner?, here.