Low income, veganism and capitalism

  • Story originally published in November of 2020

“What we have are many documentaries that deal with animal exploitation, slaughter, nutritional issues and obviously they are important, but I did not find anything that would provide space for people from the low income to talk about the matter” — says the documentary’s director “ Peripheral Vegan ”, Rauany Nunes Farias. In recent years, there has been a growth in products and adherents to the vegan lifestyle. Unlike vegetarianism, where meat is excluded but other animal products such as milk and eggs, leather and cosmetics tested on animals are still consumed, veganism is more than a diet according to the adherents, rather it’s a lifestyle and therefore abandons all types of animal exploitation products, not just in food.

Rauany is a publicist, producer and audiovisual director of the production company Habitant Films. He became vegan in 2018, after four years as a vegetarian and spearheaded the documentary “Peripheral Vegan”. After getting to know the page of Leonardo and Eduardo Luvizetto, creators of the page that bears the same name for the documentary, he decided to create a feature film based on the narrative and daily life of the brothers. After nine years working as a publicist, the director says that when he changed his career, he could find the opportunity to convey messages relevant to the debate and social advancement, something he did not experience previously. In his new documentary that according to the same “just visually narrates what the boys have been living and presenting for years on their Instagram”, Farias aimed at a script that interweaves vegans who never thought about the social and financial aspect, and also for those who consume animal products.

Even though the debate has evolved and found different niches where veganism can be found, such as from animal cruelty to the impacts on the environment, the agenda regarding the financial issue and the vegan lifestyle is still in its infancy. With this idea as the epicentre, the page, as well as the documentary, “Peripheral Vegan” created by the Lovizetto twins, 24, seeks to discuss how popular and accessible veganism should be raised in the media and debate inside and outside the vegan niches. The brothers tell during the documentary that the creation of their page was due to several experiences in different establishments aimed at the vegan public that had an exclusive nature of the reality of the “forgotten population” as explained by them, such as the usage of expressions in English and high prices. “I only identified myself with the restaurant’s employees. And putting it all together, I thought ‘this movement is not for me, for a person of low income and lower social class’ ”- narrates Eduardo. However, he says that with the support of his brother helped him to develop a social, political and economic analysis of veganism, and therefore social networks became the transmission channel of a message accessible to people who share the same reality as the twins.

Popular veganism defended by the brothers does not seek the capitalist model of increasing demand and changes in product offerings as a way of transmitting veganism. For them, the industrialized perspective on food is what causes low-income people to not give veganism a chance, since products that substitute those of animal origin, are understood as mandatory in order to have a vegan lifestyle. “The person does not think that they can replace meat protein with a cheap vegetable protein such as grains and leaves, they end up looking at the vegan industrialized products with high prices ”, says Eduardo. Other than that, the lack of representation in the speeches uttered for the population at large is criticized by Leonardo. For example, in the news reports that most of the time “do not choose a black person, a poor person, or popular veganism to talk about the movement. And with the documentary, we tried to change this pattern”, he says.

“Veganism must come from the base, from the social masses, only then will it be possible to change the system of animal exploitation in which we live. Veganism is not a movement of privileges, but it is led by socially privileged people ”, says director Rauany Nunes. “It’s about a system that not only oppresses animals but oppresses human beings,” says the director. The documentary, in addition to dealing with popular veganism, also creates mutual relations between the capitalist system and exploitation, being the basis for this to occur, because according to the director, “like all forms of oppression, animal oppression is a social construction as well”.

“We adopted a narrative that encouraged access to information, rather than products consumption,” says Eduardo as the key to creating educational awareness for those who live in low income, since the incentive for consumption, as mentioned, does not cover the “scrapped social classes” according to him. Popular veganism, which understands the social aspect as a primary factor for the discussion will be in the documentary in which he narrates his journeys within the vegan movement. “In the documentary, we approach veganism by embracing other social causes, which has a presence within the areas of low income, so these people can access the information without having to leave their social context,” says Eduardo.

The director says that during the 1 year and 7 months from conception to recording in 2019, they chose independence for the production and post-production of the documentary. By this way, without raising funds from large companies or sponsors, the creative model can assimilate itself with the documentary’s message. “I wanted to have a close relationship with the project and the boys because if we had accepted a partnership with a large company, a super production with several external stakeholders, a lot of light and recording equipment would be part of the film and then I thought ‘how would respondents and the message be perceived?’ That was a very important issue for me, that they were comfortable and that it was being reflected during the production. ” The recordings and financial expenses were spearheaded by Rauany, and other members of his production company, as well as the post-production team. Thinking about reaching other countries, the documentary has subtitles in English and Spanish and audio transcription in Portuguese for people with hearing impairment to be capable to watch.

Going against the traditional documentary premiere model, “Peripheral Vegan” will be released on YouTube since “most festivals want unpublished films, they cannot be playing on another platform, so it’s excluding a large population, for this film this approach doesn't make sense, as the public that we are aiming to reach comes from a minority that is not interested in awards or festivals. ”

In addition to narrating the history and daily life of the Luvizetto brothers, the documentary also features interviews with family members of Leonardo and Eduardo, farmers from the organic garden in their neighbourhood in the city of Campinas, and volunteers from the Terra dos Bichos animal sanctuary. “The documentary takes veganism out of the elitist conception and brings it close to different people.”

Watch the documentary “Peripheral Vegan” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr98MSULN9g&t=37s

here you will find a collection of reports written by matt so far during his time at university