Jeff Bridges Calls For Massive Effort to Fight Hunger and Poverty

2:47 PM PST 03/01/2013 by Jessica Toomer
John Shearer/Getty Images

Executive producer Jeff Bridges and a few famous friends came to support the documentary aimed at raising awareness on food insecurity across the country.

The Dude got a bit serious in New York on Wednesday night.

Jeff Bridges hosted a screening of A Place at the Table, a new documentary about poverty and food, at the Museum of Modern Art, standing beside stars such as Steve Buscemi and Jon Stewart in calling for an end to hunger in the United States. Bridges, who serves the spokesman for the Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry campaign, teamed up with another of the film's producers, Top Chef star Tom Colicchio, and spoke with THR about the importance of raising awareness for the project.

“It takes each individual, looking at themselves and asking what am I willing to do?” Bridges said. The Academy Award winner is the founder of the End Hunger Network and has been involved in the fight against food insecurity for decades.  "Charity is a great thing," Bridges says in the film, "but it won't end hunger." The actor told THR he believes food insecurity is a patriotic issue. "It's all about creating political will."

Politics is featured heavily in the documentary as filmmakers followed Tom Colicchio -- his wife, Lori Silverbush, directed the film -- on his journey to Washington to address Congress on child nutrition. The Top Chef judge agrees with Bridges, admitting charity alone won’t solve the problem of hunger in the US. “At some point you have to ask yourself is there a systemic reason why this is happening,” Colicchio said.  “We think government is the solution to the problem.”

Silverbush echoed her husband’s sentiments on change happening at the government level.

"That’s one thing we hear from legislators; they’re waiting for us to do something, and then they’ll act," she said. Silverbush, whose venture with A Place at the Table is her first in the documentary genre, admitted that this particular story required the most honest form of filmmaking. “The truth is, if I had tried to do this as a fiction film, no one would’ve believed it. It’s so shocking,” Silverbush said.

While the screening was focused on a serious topic, stars worked to lighten the mood. Stewart shared a laugh with fellow guests when a red carpet malfunction brought everyone’s attention to the race car hanging as part of an exhibit in the building, Buscemi wondered aloud if he’d get to meet Jeff Bridges, and the True Grit actor even gave a bit of relationship advice.

“The secret to making a relationship work in Hollywood,” he joked, “don’t get divorced.”

 A Place at the Table opens in theaters today.

 

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