Bloor West Villager
Milk: it does the body good, right?
Or does it?
Claude Barnes’ feature documentary succinctly christened ‘Milk?’ delves into just this topic. A “passion project” for Montreal producer Sebastian Howard of Batchfilms Inc. and a “labour of love” for Roncesvalles Village resident and filmmaker Barnes of Keep it in the Family Productions Inc., Milk? is the story of an inquisitive man, who sets out to learn the facts about milk, but discovers the growing controversy surrounding the white drink.
Instead of answers, his journey leaves him with even more questions in the midst of opposing positions from doctors, scientists, nutritionists and experts.
Barnes admits he knew nothing of the liquid, except that it was his go-to in coffee and cereal.
“This documentary does not answer the question: Is milk bad or good for you, but it definitely starts the conversation. We show every side,” Barnes said in an interview with The Villager just days before his documentary was set to air on the CBC Documentary channel on Tuesday, Jan. 29. 8 p.m. ET.
The two-and-a-half year process to complete the documentary did sway Barnes away from cow’s milk. He chooses soy milk for his cereal and steers clear of it in his coffee now.
“But, I’m not against dairy products because I’m a mouse. I eat cheese all the time,” he said. “Sebastian, he was brought up drinking big glasses of milk – it was his mom who tried to turn him off of milk.”
Barnes interviewed government officials, industry experts, biologists, anti-milk activists, raw milk advocates and an endearing milk-loving dairy farmer in his quest to enlighten and uncover lesser-known arguments about milk.
“It’s a fun watch,” said Barnes. “When Sebastian pitched (the idea) to me, I got it right away. (It’s a subject) that touches everybody.”
The documentary took the two throughout Ontario, Quebec and even to Wisconsin, which is a big milk state. It’s where farmers put cows on a pedestal to be milked.
“It looks like the cows are smiling,” said Barnes, who revealed he never anticipated he’d make a documentary about milk.