Slow Food On Film: 21 films to devour … with your eyes

The Short Film Festival organizers in Bra have received more than 50 films from all over the world devoted to the ‘love of food’. The first international Slow Food on Film competition, sponsored by Slow Food, is already a huge success – even before it starts . 21 shorts of no longer than 20 minutes each from nine different countries – Italy, United States, Great Britain, Japan, Australia, Greece, Canada, Austria and The Netherlands – have been shortlisted.
The festival will be staged in the small town of Bra in Piedmont, Italy, where Slow Food came into being and is based. Part of the fourth Bra Short Film Festival (organized by the City of Bra and also comprising an Italian short film screenplay writing competition, an Italian short film competition and a European short film festival), it will be held on April 18-21 2002.
The winners will receive a golden snail trophy and a cash prize of 5,000 euros, while their films will be promoted through Slow Food’s most important international publications and the movement’s website.
The Slow Food On Film jury will be chaired by none other than Vincent Schiavelli, one of Hollywood’s most celebrated character actors, famous for his roles as crazy man Fredrickson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Salieri’s valet in Amadeus, Bullet Bob in Blade Runner, the ghost of the subway in Ghost, Dr Kaufman in Tomorrow Dies, and many others still, besides being a cookery writer and enthusiast.
Flanking Schiavelli on the jury will be Panos Nicolau (a Hollywood film and TV producer), Alberto Capatti (food historian and editor of Slow), Stefania Barzini (RaiSat-Gambero Rosso, author of a forthcoming book on film and food), Giacomo Mojoli (vice-president of Slow Food) and Antonio Attorre (international governor of Slow Food).

Now let’s take a brief look at the 21 competing films

1. Food = Memory
A Love Supreme by Nilesh Patel, Great Britain, 9’11”, b/w, 35mmA brief audiovisual essay on the preparation of samosas, a typical Indian dish – shot and edited like the fight sequences in Scorsese’s Raging Bull! ‘A tribute,’ says the director, “ to my mother, who suffers from rheumatic arthritis in her knees and shoulders. It’s a record of her manual ability just in case her condition were to get worse.’.Nilesh Patel was born in 1967 and lives in London, where he works as an architect. His big passion is cinema and his A Love Supreme has already caught the attention of people such as Michael Chapman (director of photography on Raging Bull), Mira Nair (director of Monsoon Wedding) and Thelma Shoonmaker (Martin Scorsese’s film editor).

2. Fo od= Debate
Bio esiste (Bio Exists) by Sara Ragone, Italy, 2’57’, color, videoFood: manipulated, inflated, spiced, poisoned, grafted, cooked and eaten. Reality: manipulated, inflated, misinterpreted, hidden, cooked and swallowed,Sara Ragone, a native of Cagliari, is a graduate in photography at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome. She has also attended the New York Film Academy. She now lives in Rome.

3. Food = Lifestyle
Il bocconcino (The Tasty Morsel) by Fereniki Carpousis, USA, 20’, color, videoLuciano, a post office clerk of Italian origin, lives in Miami. He and his fiancée Anne, an American career girl, argue about how to produce, prepare and eat food. Convivium Productions, of which Fereniki Carpousis is a member, came into being in Miami in 2001. The company brings together artists, journalists, film makers and documentary directors with the aim of promoting and raising the profile of different cultures, the coexistence of which it views as a factor of cultural enrichment.

4. Food = Day-to-day existence
Boiled Eggs by Minobu Wakiyama, Japan, color, videoIn an old Japanese country inn, where life passes by lazily, the rite of eating hard-boiled eggs in company is one of the highlights of the day. Minobu Wakiyama from Matsudo, Japan, has no previous experience of film-making. Boiled Eggs marks his debut.

5. Food = Sociality
Chocolate by Susan di Rende, USA, 3’00, color, videoTwo couples dine together, but not everyone is equally seduced by the idea of chocolate for pudding.Susan di Rende worked as a theater and opera director before moving to Los Angeles, where she works on films and TV serials. She has just completed her first full-length motion picture, Strays. She has directed the shorts Old Growth, 1995, and Little Miss Malice, 2001.

6. Food = World View
Eat Like A Winner by Dan Boord, Greg Durbin and Luis Valdovino, USA, 8’18”, color, videoThe film is a tribute to the joys of cooking and to The Raw and The Cooked by Levi-Strauss. A ‘visual anthropology’ of aspects of end-of-millennium life seen through food. The film takes us on a gastronomic tour guided by a fictional narrator who believes that food is not only a lifestyle but also a way of life with ‘philosophical dimensions’.Dan Boord, Greg Durbin and Luis Valdovino are professors at, respectively, Ohio State University, San Diego State University and the University of Colorado. Their individual and collective videos have been shown at museums all over the world and have won several awards.

7. Food = Intellectual Emancipation
Fabio’s Kitch’n by David Pyefinch, Australia, 5’12”, color, videoA kind of public advice film to promote the ‘right to pleasure’. Fabio, an Italo-Australian playboy, is a TV chef who loves life. Unlike two beer-swilling popcorn-munching slobs who watch his show …David Pyefinch is a film and documentary director from Victoria, Australia. He shot a special on the Salone del Gusto 2000 in Turin.

8. Food = Viewpoint
Il frigo (The Icebox) by Ludovica Banfi e Barbara Fantini, 11’30”, Italy, color, videoThe viewpoint changes (this time it’s from inside a fridge) but love never does. Or maybe not? Ludovica Banfi and Barbara Fantini are both videomakers. They live, study and work in Bologna, where began directing in 2001.

9. Food = Necessity
Gnam Gnam (Munch, Munch) by Roberto Merlino, Italy, 1’20”, color, videoNone of the food that arrives on our tables is safe anymore. So we’ve got to look for an alternative …Roberto Merlino is a writer, director and theatrical and film actor. In his 10-year career, he has made over 30_ documentaries and 15 or so TV dramas. He runs a school-workshop in La Spezia.

10. Food = Death
Il Grugnito dell’Universo (The Grunt of the Universe) by Paul Gargano, 12’, Italy, color, videoThe very repetitiveness of an atrocity – the killing of the pig – makes it normal. Paul Gargano, real name Emanuel Pernacchia, was born in Assisi in 1974. He graduated in graphics and design in 2001 at the Istituto Superiore Industrie Artistiche in Urbino. He has designed numerous advertising and visual communication campaigns for theater companies, agencies and associations. In partnership with his friend Anton Cristell, he formed on/off design, an architecture, photography and video agency. Il Grugnito dell’Universo is his first short.

11. Food = Identity
Kosher Pickle by Esther Koohan Paik, USA, 8’, b/w, 16mmAn affectionate portrait of a man whose kosher pickles are part and parcel of his being. Esther Koohan Paik was born in Hollywood in1961. He studied television at the University of Southern California. He has produced documentaries and worked as a director for ABC in Tokyo. She directed her first full-length motion picture, Virtue, in 1997. She used to be a Slow Food convivium leader in San Francisco.

12. Food = Inspiration
Life Is A Sweet by James Duff, USA, 17’, color, 35mmAn adman soothes his professional frustrations with chocolate cakes. And chocolate gives him an idea that just might revolutionize his work …James Duff, a writer, producer and director, lives in Marina del Rey in California. Life is Sweet, the film with which he graduated at the University of Southern California, marks his fiction debut.

13. Food = Eros… And Thanatos
Love To Meat You by Maria Lafi, Greece, 15’, color, 35mm‘The fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. Which is why Eleni is careful to cook her best dishes for hubbie Yorgos. Only that Yorgos isn’t happy. In fact, he beats her up and insults her until …Maria Lafi was born in1967. She studied photography at the Graphic Arts & Artistic Studies Technical College and cinema at the Stavizaisos Film School

14. Food = Passion
The Offering by Paul Lee, Canada, 10’, 35 mm, color.A film about life as it goes by. No words, no music. It tells the story of a love affair between a Japanese monk and a young novice who becomes part of his life – from their meeting to their tragic separation. The ‘offering’ made by the one to the other is a box of plain rice balls, a metaphor of passion, the strong yet extremely fragile bond that holds the destinies of two human beings together. The Offering is a tribute to AIDS victims.Paul Lee was born in Hong Kong in 1963 and moved to Toronto in 1976. A director and producer, he has organized and directed numerous festivals in Canada, the USA, Japan and Thailand. The Offering is his third short.

15. Food = Pleasure
Oyster Guanaca by Sarah Cohen and Jennifer Bishop, USA, 11’28”, b/w, 35mmAn El Salvador dish pig in a Washington restaurant decides to give his wife a generous quantity of oysters – despite the derision of his colleagues. Sarah Cohen and Jennifer Bishop come from Middletown, USA. This is their only film to date.

16. Food = Seduction
Peperoni by Giuseppe Gagliardi, Italy, 14’, color, 16mmDario and Maria a pair of star-crossed lovers in a Calabrian village in the Fifties. A combination of the conventions of tradition and local gossip hampers their encounter. In the story, peppers are both a motive for seduction and a final solution to the conflict. Giuseppe Gagliardi was born in Cosenza on May 3 1977. A graduate in the Performing Arts at the La Sapienza University in Rome, he has also attended the Scuola Nazionale di Cinema. Peperoni is his fourth short.

17. Food = Law
The Resistance (De Weerstand) by Annemarie Meijboom, The Netherlands, 20’, color, videoThe Netherlands in the near future. The consumption of animal meat is banned. The Fast Food Federation, an organization of former snack bar owners ‘pushes’ meat products, most likely infected. Olaf, an undercover agent for the Department of Animal Affairs, discovers the Resistance, a nonprofit organization which raises healthy livestock. Annemarie Meijboom was born in Leyden in 1980. She has collaborated with the Drama Academy on mainly theatrical projects …

18. Food = Revolution
Revolting Pasta by Raphael Barth, Austria, 8’30’’, color, Super 8A block of minced beef calls to arms a group of innocent tomatoes, massacred by a ruthless chef – whose sole thought is simply to cook up a dinner for two …Raphael Barth was born in Munich and grew up in Austria and Germany. He studied zoology and biology at university. He has been obsessed by storytelling through pictures since he was a child. Since 1995, he has directed shorts, commercials and documentaries. He directed Revolting Pasta in partnership with Dietrich Ruehlmann and Wolfang Jelinek.a.

19. Food = Struggle
Salt Battle by Ron Termaat, The Netherlands, 5’15”, color, 35mmA man dines alone in a huge, crowded restaurant. At first the waiters ignore him but eventually they serve him the soup he ordered. When he realizes he has to season it a little, the story takes an unexpected turn. Ron Termaat was born in De Bilt in the Netherlands in 1959. From 1980 to 1984, he studied at the Dutch Movie and Television Academy (NFTVA) in Amsterdam. From1986 to1988, he attended Delia Salvi’s course for directors. In 1997 and 2000, he attended the courses of the Maurits Binger Institute. He has directed episodes for numerous Dutch TV serials, as well as the following shorts: De Schoorsteenveger, 1987 (proposed by the Netherlands for an Oscar) and Bananaskins, 1993. His first full-length film, Lef, (1999), won first prize at the Dutch Movie Festival and was shown at the Toronto Festival.

20. Food = Obession
Stanley by Suzie Templeton, Great Britain, 7’01”, color, Beta SP/16mm opticalWhile his wife disseminates death and violence in the kitchen, Stanley finds refuge in his love for a big cabbage he’s grown in his back garden. Suzie Templeton was born in London. In 1996, she attended the Surrey Institute of Art & Design University College for which she made this award-winning animated short. Her next work, Dog, made with sand sculptures, won important awards in Edinburgh and Ottawa.

21. Food = Consolation
Sunday by Andrew Bloch, 9’, USA, color, 35mm1946. A war widow receives a card under her door. The content of the message changes the course of her life.Andrew Bloch has acted both in New York (where he played in Death of a Traveling Salesman and Room Service with Alan Arkin) and in Hollywood (numerous appearances in TV serials, especially as Captain Dan Hulland, the ‘nemesis’ of Steven Seagal in Hard To Kill). The turnaround in his career came when he started to teach acting. Sunday, his first film as a director, has won prizes at Crested Butte, in Colorado, and Indianapolis.

For information on the films and the festival:
Slow Food : [email protected]
For information on the program and accommodation:
MANIFESTAZIONI DEL COMUNE, Via Moffa di Lisio, 14/16 –
Tel. 0039-0172-430185
Fax. 0039-0172-418601
[email protected]

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