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Chipotle rails against factory farming with short film, iOS game

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Chipotle, the popular chain of upscale fast-food Mexican restaurants, released a short film and an iOS game today — both called The Scarecrow — to highlight the problems associated with factory farming and processed food.

Moonbot Studios made both the short film and the mobile game. The Shreveport, La.-based company won an Academy Award in 2012 for the animated short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, and developed the Wonderbook game Diggs Nightcrawler, which was released this past spring in Europe.

The three-minute short film is set to a disquieting Fiona Apple remake of the song "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It takes place in a dystopian future and tells the story of a scarecrow who works at Crow Foods, an industrial producer of processed food that markets it as being "all natural," "100 percent beef-ish!" and "farm fresh." The scarecrow sees chickens injected with growth hormone and cows trapped in milking machines, and when he goes home, he decides to try a more natural way of preparing real food.

In the game adaptation of The Scarecrow, which is available free on iOS, players take the role of the scarecrow and attempt to restore the City of Plenty to its pre-Crow Foods days. They carry vegetables through the Crow Foods factory, free animals to fly them to safety, plant crops and feed the citizens with natural, wholesome food. Anybody who unlocks all levels and earns at least three stars on each one will receive a buy one, get one coupon valid at any Chipotle location.

"Our companies are a great fit because we both care deeply about what we do and doing it right," said Brandon Oldenburg, creative partner at Moonbot Studios. "At Moonbot, we must have meaning in what we create. The Scarecrow story has it: imagination, heart and a sense of play."

You can watch a trailer for the game above, and the short film itself below.