Liz Marshall, director of “Meat The Future”

by | Mar 30, 2022

Liz Marshall—a documentary director whose latest film, “Meat The Future,” examines the realm of “cultivated meat,” generated in a lab setting, from animal cells, but these animals remain unharmed—explains the criteria she considers when deciding what topic or person will constitute her next movie. More specifically, Marshall recounts how she started down the path of  “Meat The Future,” starting in 2016 after seeing a report about Dr. Uma Valeti and colleagues producing the now-famous $18,000 meatball—reflecting that they had mastered the technology to yield cultivated meat, but still faced a towering challenge: how to create far larger quantities of this meat, at far lower costs. These were very early days, but Marshall recalls that she followed her instinct, deciding right then that this saga, fronted by Valeti—a hotshot cardiologist who’d jettisoned his medical career to pursue this endeavor, fraught as it was with uncertainty—would form the core of her next film. What she didn’t realize then, she concedes, is that chronicling Valeti’s quintessential quest and that of his company Memphis Meats (since re-branded Upside Foods) would represent a more than five-year journey for her, ongoing even now, as she beats the drum for “Meat The Future” becoming available on demand April 5 in the U.S. “and selected territories” on Apple TV. She addresses the notable access that distinguishes her film, having carried the camera into important meetings, hearings and elsewhere you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see coverage. (She explains the notable access was brokered in a way by Bruce Friedrich, above, executive director of The Good Food Institute, featured in the film, but also friends with both Marshall and Valeti, and introduced them.)  Speaking of flipping expectations, Marshall acknowledges that as  “Meat The Future” unspools, some strange bedfellows emerge—for example, traditional meat producers like Cargill voice their support for Memphis Meats, while Cargill and Tyson Foods become investors. By contrast, representatives of cattle organizations convey a dim view of the whole enterprise, right down to objecting to the use of the word “meat.” [Photos: Meat The Future] (,,

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Eric Keaton, chief marketing officer at the SPCA Tampa Bay, which was slated on April 2 to hold its Annual Pet Walk—31st Annual Pet Walk, that is. Keaton outlines some SPCA Tampa Bay history, and what makes the shelter distinctive. He discusses the Pet Walk, including the weather-related and Covid-related challenges the event has faced in recent years. But good news for this year’s model: Keaton reports that, a few days beforehand, “several hundred” people have registered for the Walk, signaling strong support for this important SPCA Tampa Bay fundraiser, and the promise of more to come. Keaton mentions that, in addition to the battalion of canines participating in the Walk, his hope is that at least one pig will join them. He notes the day’s activities will include a pet costume contest. (,

COMEDY CORNER: Alex Edelman’s “Koko The Gorilla” (DS edit) (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier”


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