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Development   /  Sean Cousins

RAW – The Global Fight to Save Real Cheese

The fight is on to save the world's greatest artisanal cheeses and a way of life almost as old as Western Civilisation.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Sean Cousins

  • PRODUCER Sean Cousins



In the "Old World" of continental Europe some of the greatest and most celebrated cheeses are endangered and going extinct. Meanwhile in the "New World" of Australia, New Zealand and the US, artisanal cheese makers - inspired by ancient techniques - are creating entirely new products with new flavour profiles, in effect 'reinventing the wheel'. But they are confronting their own challenges, from regulators and the large manufacturers using the latest science to "bottle farmstead magic".

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0.11% funded
  • $150,000.00

  • $170.00

  • September 2019

  • 2

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carmen benoit $0.00
Previous donations $170.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

It is vital that consumers understand that a crisis looms which threatens the livelihoods of committed cheesemaking artisans the world over. We could soon lose cherished food products like Camembert, which may soon become extinct in its traditional form. It is one of many threatened cheeses with hundreds of years of history behind them. RAW is a call to action. We plan to be part of a "revolution" in how we buy, sell and grow 'value-added' foods like cheese. We aim to make a key contribution to the growing dialogue around "slow food", by tapping into existing support from organisations like the US "OldWays Cheese Coalition" and the Slow Food Movement.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

We want to share the important idea that food created by small holding farmers sold in local markets is healthier, and a sustainable way to live. Only when consumers can shift their attitudes from a solely price point concept of food buying to one based on provenance and flavour and shared responsibility will we create a future that has a place for smallholding farming to survive the encroachment of agri-business and giant vertically integrated food production monopolies.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Short-term we need to raise awareness of the loss of highly prized and widely admired artisan cheeses in the 'old world' which are threatened with extinction in their traditional forms by monopolisation and industrialisation of food manufacturing and the 'frog in a pot' creep of red tape and bureaucracy. Medium to long term, we are in a battle to change the buying habits of Western consumers who have for decades made food choices based largely on price before quality. The farmers and cheesemakers in this film have staked their future on value adding to raw milk as a way to survive the industrialisation of farming and the power of the milk co-ops.
We hope the film will lead to changes to current Australian laws which prohibit the importation and production of raw milk cheeses.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

After screenings on T/SVOD we will target the secondary school sector, not just here but also overseas; DVD sales, supported by an informative website and a PPV downloadable version. Poignant personal stories illustrating themes of environmental stewardship, care for the planet, preserving traditional ways of life and animal husbandry are 'on message' for the education market. We want people to understand first what is traditional cheese, secondly to alert the public to the fact that time-honoured and delicious traditional cheeses are being lost every year and finally to connect these stories to a broader message about environmental stewardship. A study guide for the educational sector will be created with the aim of having this film included in curriculum or as a teaching aid for the VCE subjects of Food Studies, Health and Human Development, Agricultural and Horticultural Studies, Global Politics and Environmental Science.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Oldways Coalition in the US
Individual cheese makers have informed their peak bodies of our progress.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We aim for nothing less than changing consumer habits. We want people to demand access to great cheese, to buy the best cheeses and to see them as something worth spending money on. We also want consumers to lobby governments for changes to the current dreadful administrative restrictions on cheese manufacture and importation. In some circles raw milk cheese has a bad reputation – people are afraid that it is a dangerous food stuff. We want to education the public on this point. Raw Milk is not Raw Milk Cheese which when properly handled is as safe as many other fresh food products.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Short Term success is gaining a commission for the program through one of our targets – Netflix or Amazon.
Medium Term we can measure success in creating a debate and interest in the media and social media. Measuring the impact of this “conversation” can be achieved by engaging a social media analysis company to follow the breadth and depth of coverage.
Long Term we hope to see regime change. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is now engaged in an ongoing legal battle with independent cheese lobbyist who seek to open up Australia to raw milk cheese importation and manufacture.