Guide to Food-Centric Films
Autumn brings both cool weather and a deluge of film festivals, from tiny indie events to star-studded red-carpet affairs. It seems there is a film festival for every sub-genre these days—including food. At these festivals, you’ll find a bit of the standard chef-worship food show content, but mostly you’ll find clever takes on the food system writ large and the people behind the scenes who bring it all from soil to the dinner table and beyond. Here are a few of the best bets on the food film festival circuit.
Food Film Fest – New York, NY October 24-27, 2019 Award categories at this festival, now in its 13th year, include Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best Super-Short Film, and Best Food Porn Film. The festival is something of a standard-bearer on the food film festival circuit—plus, you get to taste the very dishes on the screen as you watch. This year’s selections include a film about local lettuce in Greenland and Cambodian-run donut shops in Texas, where 95 percent of donut shops are run by Cambodians. Thefoodfilmfestival.com.
Flatirons Food Film Festival – Boulder, CO October 10-13, 2019
Now in its seventh year, this festival has become an institution in the craft beer/organic farming/health food mecca of Boulder. This year’s selections include a series of one-minute spoofs that attempt a food preparation scene in the style of various well-known directors. What if Tarantino Made Spaghetti and Meatballs gets gory with red sauce and big knives, with other titles like What if Wes Anderson Made Smores? following suit. Flatironsfoodfilmfest.org.
Devour – Wolfville, NS October 22-27, 2019 Located in a quaint wine region outside Halifax on the Bay of Fundy (a rarity on the east coast of Canada), this festival, now in its ninth year, attracts 13,000 attendees annually—quite a horde for such a small, out-of-the-way place. This year’s film lineup has yet to be announced, but the theme is all things Italian. Devourfest.com.
Napa Valley Film Festival – Napa County, CA November 13-17, 2019 Also nine years old and located in a wine region, the annual Napa Valley festival is spread throughout several venues in the region. Festival passes include wine tastings and culinary demonstrations. Stay tuned for the lineup release. Napavalleyfilmfest.org.
Toronto Food Film Fest – Toronto, ON October 4-5, 2019 Just a few weeks after the stars head home from the much-ballyhooed Toronto International Film Festival in September, a food-focused version comes to town. While not nearly as famous as TIFF, the Toronto Food Film Fest is just as serious in its devotion to artistic excellence, serving up inspiring and eclectic film fare year after year. This year’s selections include Food Play (an “experiential juxtaposition of food and sports”) and A Visual Ode to a Hare in the Woods (“a visionary journey inside…Massimo Bottura’s most controversial dish”). Torontofoodfilmfest.com.