2014 Milwaukee Film Festival Launches New Food-Related Film Program
Film Feast celebrates Milwaukee’s proud food culture with eight food-related films
MILWAUKEE – Tuesday, August 12, 2014 – The 6th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival, presented by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is elated to announce the launch of its new film program: Film Feast. In its inaugural year, Film Feast presents a diverse lineup of features, eight in total, comprised of both fiction and documentary films that explore and celebrate the culture of food and drink.
The new program developed from the success and continued interest in gastronomy-related films previously presented at the Milwaukee Film Festival, including last year’s SOMM and Spinning Plates. The growth of Milwaukee’s own food and drink culture, and focus on made-from-scratch, slow cooked, handmade, artisan foods and craft cocktails over recent years reinforced the growing demand of, and interest in, a film program like Film Feast.
“We have such a strong food heritage in Milwaukee thanks to the diverse communities that settled here–it only seems fitting to introduce Film Feast to the Festival. The films screening as part of the program are as much about the food itself–the preparation and consumption–as they are about the incredible life and culture around them. We’re acknowledging both with an incredible range of films that go beyond standard food documentaries,” shares Jonathan Jackson, Artistic and Executive Director for Milwaukee Film.
Comedies like the crowd-pleaser Paulette, about an ill-tempered old woman–an ex-pastry chef turned cannabis kingpin, and culturally-rich films like Soul of a Banquet, a mouth-watering documentary about legendary Chinese chef Cecilia Chiang by The Joy Luck Club director Wayne Wang, are at opposite sides of the spectrum. Whether viewers have a taste for romance, politics, social or environmental issues, they’ll find something delicious here.
Presented by The Bartolotta Restaurants
Media Sponsor: OnMilwaukee.com
2014 MILWAUKEE FILM FESTIVAL
Milwaukee is in love with all things food—from great new restaurants to urban gardens on every corner to our proud heritage of beer brewing. This program features fiction and documentary films that explore and celebrate the culture of food and drink.
A Year in Burgundy
(USA, France / 2013 / Director: David Kennard)
Cleanse your palates, fans of SOMM (MFF 2013)—A Year in Burgundy is the 2014 vintage you’ve been waiting for. Set your destination for France, where we follow a year in the life of a grape through seven different wine-making families, in a film that captures the artistry and dedication required in order to produce a truly stellar vino. As the four seasons pass at each vineyard, we see the history generated by multiple generations of wine-makers, with secrets and techniques being passed down through the ages. We also glimpse the history of that year, for better or worse, which makes its way into every bottle.
(Germany, Ecuador, Switzerland / 2013 / Director: Darío Aguirre)
After a decade spent abroad in Germany, filmmaker Dario Aguirre is called home to Ecuador by his father to prevent the family restaurant from falling into bankruptcy. An already tenuous father/son relationship (Dario is a vegetarian, while his father and his restaurant are passionately pro-meat) is pulled to its breaking point as Aguirre attempts to stop the restaurant from hemorrhaging more money. As he struggles to reconcile with the culture after so many years away, he recognizes the importance of his father’s business to the community in this simple, unsparing documentary.
(France / 2012 / Director:Jérôme Enrico)
This crowd-pleasing French comedy shows it’s never too late in life to make a career change. We follow the cantankerous Paulette (the late, great Bernadette Lafont) as she struggles to make ends meet on only her pension in a suburban Paris housing project. Using the smarts and ingenuity honed over her years as a pastry chef, Paulette embarks on a career as a weed dealer with the aid of her elderly neighbors. But success draws the attention of rival dealers and the police (of which her own son is a member), and Paulette will need to use every ounce of her resourcefulness in this charming story of family and friendship.
Slow Food Story
(Italy, Ireland / 2013 / Director:Stefano Sardo)
Born of humble beginnings nearly 30 years ago in response to McDonald’s making its way to Rome, activist Carlo Petrini’s Slow Food Movement has since created a worldwide food revolution—local chapters spread over 150 countries with the goal of rallying against the homogenization of cuisine and cultural identity that fast food and its bland immediacy have to offer. Slow Food Story tells the story of an endlessly convivial man whose belief that “an environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is very sad” has awoken many to the simple pleasures of cooking and eating through our local ecosystems—a sustainable and delicious way of living.
Soul of a Banquet
(USA / 2014 / Director:Wayne Wang)
Legendary chef Cecilia Chiang has been credited with bringing authentic Chinese cuisine to America with the opening of her famed restaurant The Mandarin in 1961. Her exploits are given tribute by director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club), with a portrait equal parts personal history (examining her emigration from Shanghai to San Francisco) and food porn (the preparation, execution, and delivery of a banquet feast make up a large part of the narrative). Interviews from food industry luminaries Ruth Reichl and Alice Waters help flesh out this warm and sumptuous portrait of a gastronomical pioneer.
Soul Food Stories
(Bulgaria, Finland / 2013 / Director:Tonislav Hristov)
Satovcha, Bulgaria, has a population of only 2,000, but among that small community are Christians, Muslims, atheists, and Roma (aka Gypsies) all living together. They are united by a shared love of their land and a willingness to solve any problems generated by their different theologies and ideologies by gathering around the dinner table as they prepare for sumptuous feasts. Capturing this unique small town and those who inhabit it with warmth and wit, Soul Food Stories follows attempts by the female population to expand their use of the village’s social club from one to two days per week.
The Starfish Throwers
(USA, India / 2014 / Director: Jesse Roesler)
A powerful rejoinder to those who believe one person alone can’t bring about change, The Starfish Throwers chronicles the heartwarming individual stories of three people from wildly different backgrounds—a top chef in India, a middle school girl, and a retired schoolteacher—who decide to combat world hunger despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Be it the donated bounties of backyard gardens, a night’s sleep lost to deliver sandwiches and goods to those stuck in the Minneapolis cold, or the daily preparation and delivery of meals to the homeless, each of these inspirational stories proves that one person can positively impact the world.
Zone Pro Site: A Moveable Feast
(Taiwan / 2013 / Director: Yu-Hsun Chen)
This top-grossing Taiwanese culinary comedy follows the humble return of Wan to her family catering business after the modeling career she had set out for ends with heaps of debt and some shady characters demanding money. An opportunity reveals itself: a cooking contest in the classic art of “bandoh” (a Taiwanese custom of outdoor banquets) with a substantial cash prize. With the help of a handsome man known only as “The Gourmet Doctor,” Wan looks to prove her cooking bona fides to her skeptical family and rid herself of those pesky debt collectors once and for all in this delicious rom-com.
The 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival runs September 25 – October 9, 2014 at the Landmark Oriental Theatre, Landmark Downer Theatre, Fox-Bay Cinema Grill and Times Cinema. Passes and ticket 6-Packs for the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival are currently available at discounted rates exclusively online at mkefilm.org/tickets.
Tickets for individual screenings will be available through Milwaukee Film Festival Box Office starting September 10 for Milwaukee Film Members and September 11 for the General Public.
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Free Entry for All Films; Festival Offers To Pay for Work That Is Screened
Festival organizers hope the later dates will expand programming opportunities.