Grasshopper Republic

USA | 2023 | 94 min. | Daniel McCabe

Daniel McCabe (This is Congo) directs this verité doc set in the small Ugandan village of Bundibugyo, where workers harvest grasshoppers by any means necessary—sodium lights, flour, corrugated steel, barrels—and sell the culinary delicacy in open-air markets.


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Monday, May 20 - Monday, May 27, 2024

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  • Matinee

In the Pacific Northwest, people will risk dangerous seas to work on fishing boats with the hope that they’ll make a lot of money in a short amount of time. In Uganda, instead of fishing boats, people risk their health in the hope of a good and lucrative grasshopper season. For those of us who didn’t know that a grasshopper season even existed, Grasshopper Republic takes us from the preparation to the harvest to the final haul. Filmed in a verité style, it feeds us just enough information to keep us curious, putting us in the position of a new recruit thrown into a grasshopper harvesting team where you have to figure out what’s happening as you go along. Similar to a fishing boat captain, the harvest captain stakes their claim on an area of land where they think the grasshoppers will appear, then spend time and energy setting up generators and lights in hopes that a swarm passing by at night will be drawn into their traps. The danger comes from the fact that the lights can impair the vision of workers, not to mention attracting bugs and butterflies that irritate the skin, but all that is worth the risk when you can earn a year’s salary in three months. This is an absolutely fascinating documentary about a market that is literally foreign to us.

—Andy Spletzer

  • Director: Daniel McCabe
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 94 min.
  • Producer: Daniel McCabe, Michele Sibiloni, Alyse Ardell Spiegel, Otto Bell
  • Screenplay: Daniel McCabe
  • Cinematographers: Daniel McCabe, Michele Sibiloni, Michael McCabe
  • Editors: Alyse Ardell Spiegel
  • Music: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
  • Awards: Inconvenient Films Festival 2023 (Emerging Filmmakers Competition Winner)
  • Filmography: This is Congo (2017)
  • Language: Luganda, English
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Taskovski Films