Katie Couric with the filmmakers from Fed Up and Film Society’s Eugene Hernandez on Daily Buzz from Sundance. Photo by Brian Brooks.

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Television journalist/talk show host Katie Couric joked that she’s “had some experience with microphones” (perhaps not so jokingly) when she offered to hold the mic for her interview along with filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig for their film Fed Up at Sundance, which is featured in this sixth episode of Daily Buzz from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. Kurt Russell joined filmmakers Chapman Way and Maclain Way for a chat about their doc The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Also featured in this episode are Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia who are at Sundance with their doc Web Junkie. SXSW Film Festival Head Janet Pierson speaks in today’s Industry Insider segment about her upcoming event in Austin, TX. And, of course, festival insiders joined for a discussion of Hot Topics.

Listen to the full episode here. Below are some moments from the show.

Fed Up

“As a television journalist for 35 years I realized I’ve been covering this subject time and time again,” said Couric to Daily Buzz. “Nobody’s taken a comprehensive look at why childhood obesity has gotten worse and worse and worse despite the fact we’ve been talking about this for years.” Former network news anchor traveled to Sundance to promote Fed Up, the U.S. Documentary Competition film she helped executive produce for director Stephanie Soechtig. The film unearths a secret of the American food industry — far more people get sick via consumption than previously realized. Soechtig and Couric uncover why despite the public’s fascination with appearance and government policies to combat childhood obesity, generations of children are now expected to live shorter lives than their parents.

“There’s a systematic crisis that on the part of our govt and the food industry, in which our kids may have a shorter life span than their parents for the first time,” added Couric. “And that reality has a great consequences for us as a society.”

Battered Bastards of Baseball filmmakers Chapman and Maclain Way with Kurt Russell at Daily Buzz. Photo by Brian Brooks.

The Battered Bastards of Baseball

“The wonderful thing about sports is you don’t know the outcome,” observed Kurt Russell, who joined Daily Buz along with filmmakers Chapman and Maclain Way to talk up Sundance Documentary Premieres feature The Battered Bastards of Baseball.

The film looks at father and grandfather Big Russell (who played Deputy Clem in TV’s Bonanza) created the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the Portland Mavericks. According to Sundance’s description of the film, Bing Russell operated without Major League affiliation while playing in a city that was considered a wasteland for professional baseball. Tryouts for the Mavericks, which were open to the public, were packed with hopefuls from every state in America, many of whom had been rejected by organized baseball. Skeptics agreed it would never work. But Bing’s Mavericks generated unprecedented success: they shattered attendance records, signed Kurt Russell – Bing’s son – as a player and team Vice President, produced the most successful batboy in baseball (filmmaker Todd Field), re-launched the controversial career of Jim Bouton, hired the first female general manager in Baseball, and inspired one of America’s beloved bubblegums – Big League Chew.

“He was creating something that didn’t exist for over 30 years which is an independent baseball team,” Kurt Russell told Daily Buzz. “This is going to be fun for me and my family because they’re going to learn a lot about me and my past.”

Web Junkie

“China is the first country to declare it an addiction,” noted Web Junkie co-director Shosh Shlam about people who are obsessed with internet use. “I see the effects the internet has done to human relationships. It’s interesting to explore this from a country in which this phenomenon is extreme.”

The feature documentary screening in Sundance’s World Cinema Doc Competition explores internet addiction and spotlights the revolutionary treatment used in Chinese Rehab Centers. Internet addiction is now a global issue. An increasing number of people, especially young adults, are using the Internet more than ever before. The film delves into a Beijing treatment center and explores the cases of three young Chinese teenagers from the day they arrive at the treatment center through the 3 months period of being held at the center, and then their return to their homes. The film follows both the underlying issues related to the disorders, as well as the manner and treatment the patients receive.

“The first step is to recognize that there is a dark side to the internet,” said co-director Hilla Medalia on Daily Buzz. “We are more connected online, but we’re even more alone now. Children escape to live in their virtual world.”