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For most people Christmas’s overindulgence is followed by New Year’s resolutions to stop being a fat slob. So in possibly a smart marketing move, film producer Donal O’ Neill is releasing Cereal Killers – an independent documentary about the dangers of refined food, in the run up to Christmas.

Donal himself is the star of the film. He’s a former athlete with a familial history of cardiovascular disease. When his dad suffers two massive heart attacks, Donal is spurned into action, and attempts to hack his genes by adopting a high fat diet.  Yes – HIGH FAT. Donal ditches wheat and sugar in a food plan consisting of 70% fat – turning the food pyramid on its head.

The film is part of the diet documentary genre; and echoes Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me; except that the protagonist is eating in a way he believes is healthy. But is it?

Cereal Coffin

I could blather on about the film’s artistic vision, and how it “makes a convincing argument” but I can’t praise it too much. I was the director!

I met Donal O’Neill in South Africa through a mutual friend. He told me about the “crazy diet” he was on (which includes coffee, and tons of meat) which horrified my puritan vegan spirit. Donal was convinced that a film needed to be made about this, and started sending me research. My interest piqued. Fast forward four months, and I was back in South Africa, eating burgers and filming Donal as he munched through a small mountain of meat and macadamia nuts.

I committed to the project for two reasons. Firstly, it offered a radically different view on health and nutrition to anything else I’d read. I learned how saturated fat will not kill you, how corporations dictate what we believe is healthy, and how the pharmaceutical industries have a heavy agenda in pushing theories such as “cholesterol is bad” (newsflash: it isn’t!) and how the only reliable treatment for diabetes is drugs (guess what? It’s not!)


Secondly, it represented a truly indie film spirit. Donal took an alternative approach to pretty much everything that’s done in the film industry. He funded the film with his savings, gave me (the director) total creative control, and dismissed the film festival route. Finally he even ignored broadcast deals with TV stations, because his research revealed that online distribution was actually the way forward. The film is being released on the 15th of December through online distribution channel Yerka.

I might be biased, but I believe this film marks an important moment in independent filmmaking… and in the war against saturated fat. While I don’t adhere completely to Donal’s dietary suggestions (I eat sugar… shock, horror!) the views on nutrition changed mine, and helped me adapt a more moderate diet. And, for the record, I feel great.

Watch “Cereal Killers” here from 15th December.

And in the interim see the Facebook page for details

Yolanda Barker

Yolanda is the director of the award-winning documentary "Cereal Killers", and the critically acclaimed "Where the Darkness has to Run". She has just completed her first short film, "After I Saw You"; a collaboration with Dharma Comics. It will premiere at the Landshut Short Film Festival in Germany.

Posted on Dec 4, 2013

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