The year is 2022. After a decade of world famine and food riots, the Mendelian Corporation now bioengineers the world’s entire commercial supply of genetically modified seeds. This comes at the expense of outlawed natural “heirloom” seeds, with their susceptibility to disease viewed as a threat to a stable food supply. The Mendelian Corporation’s control of the food supply gives it great political clout, and it has used it to consolidate great power. Rural areas and farm country are now under a corporate marshal law, and the ban on “heirloom” seed has resulted in a black market, with “seed-runners” emerging to satisfy the underground market.
Young boys seeking to serve their country are encouraged to join the Mendelian Corporation’s Sprouts youth program. The Sprouts motto “Duty First” indicates that the security of the food supply comes above all else, and that a Sprout must remain vigilant at all times. At 12 years old, Juan (Sebastian Villada) is completely devoted to the Sprouts, and to Sprouts leader and local security chief Dick Phillips (Yul Vazquez). Under his tutelage, Juan — whose mother died in a food riot a decade earlier — routinely uses his electronic “seed-sniffer” to secretly inspect the crops on neighboring farms in search of “bad seeds.” On one otherwise average day, Juan is inspecting a cornfield on the Ballard Farm when he discovers a contaminated patch. The field is burned down and the farmer is arrested.
- Hugo PerezDirector