Taking Five with Brian Wendel, Executive Producer of Forks Over Knives

Written by Jaya Bhumitra

brian wendel-270x203

Roger Ebert says it “will save your life.” The Los Angeles Times calls it “richly inspiring.”

The critically-acclaimed health documentary Forks Over Knives has taken the media by storm, earning recommendations from Oprah to Ellen. Even the companion book has become a New York Times best seller.

Despite the flurry of attention, Executive Producer Brian Wendel kindly sat down with us to share his inspiration for creating the film and healing a nation.

COK: When did you first start eating all plant-based foods, and what prompted the change?

BW: In 2001, I went to a discussion on nutrition with representatives from various diet philosophies, from The Zone to Atkins. The vegan panelist was most compelling, and I decided to try it for one week. I felt so much better that I continued and have never turned back.

COK: What inspired you to develop Forks Over Knives?

BW: There is a big story that is not being told. People are suffering terribly from chronic diseases, despite evidence that a whole-foods plant-based diet can help. I felt that a visual presentation would be effective in getting this life-saving information out to the public.

FOK PosterCOK: What were some of your favorite moments in the movie-making process?

BW: Spending time with Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and their families. The doctors are real heroes for their pioneering work, and they are as good people as they are researchers.

COK: What impact do you hope Forks Over Knives will have on viewers?

BW: The film is part of a bigger movement working to end the animal-based and processed food diet. Our role is to help dispel the false notion that animal foods are health promoting. I hope that dieticians will seriously consider the evidence presented in the film, and favor plant-based nutrition for their clients.

COK: Was there anything you wish you could have added in the film?

BW: Some people believe that if animals were raised better, the meat, dairy, and eggs we consume would be healthy. The film’s experts disagree. I wanted to discuss this in the film, but it would have become too lengthy. However, Dr. Campbell does address this in a DVD bonus feature.

COK: What more can we expect to see from the Forks Over Knives brand?

BW: The website is evolving into a newspaper site that we envision as an online hub for the whole-foods, plant-based world. It will focus on health, but will cover environmental and animal welfare issues as well.