Jesse Bishop on how the Food & Wine Film Festival found a home in the Twin Cities

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The film "Lupe el de la Vaca" pays homage to the farmer's way of life in Mexico
Film lovers are in for a gastronomical treat this weekend as the Food & Wine Film Festival kicks off at St. Anthony Main Theatre. Over the next four days, foodie film classics such as Babette's Feast and the family-friendly Ratatouille will be shown alongside newcomers like Dead Sushi and indie flick Trattoria. To complement the gastrocentric films, the festival will present a series of events catered by local restaurants, providing a full-scale food experience.

We chatted with organizer Jesse Bishop, programming manager at the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, about how the festival came to be and why food and film make such a great fit.

See also:
Feast for the Eyes: Food & Wine Film Festival begins Thursday

How did you come up with the idea for the festival?

From our audiences, really. Over the years our members and attendees have suggested that we host a Food Film Fest. And with the successful movie and a dinner event we held last fall with the documentary film El Bulli, about Spanish chef Ferran Adrià's experimental Michelin three-star restaurant, we thought, We can replicate this. So, we did what every chef hoping to open his/her own restaurant does, we scaled up!

How did you choose the films?

With our experience producing the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival every April and running an art-house style theater at St. Anthony Main Theatre year-round, we are blessed with the good fortune of continuous discovery and opportunity working with filmmakers and producers. We wanted to strike the right balance on three levels; between documentaries and narratives, international and American titles, and contemporary and classic works. We then sought an equilibrium of movies that present on a range of themes: exploration of creativity, agricultural perspective, economic and social impacts, family and community, historical, and most significantly: mouthwatering and fun!

Courtesy Birch Tree Entertainment
Japanese horror film "Dead Sushi" is described by Bishop as a mix between "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" and "13 Assassins"

Why do you think food and film work together so well?

I think because both food and film have this unique ability to run the spectrum of experience and touch us in profound ways; they both can be intimately personal, and perhaps most enjoyable when shared together. They express our history, our varied cultures, and reflect our tastes (pun maybe intended) and personalities. Food and film are nostalgic, visceral, creative, and sensory -- sounds like a great menu to me.

How did you come up with the idea for the Small Bites Feastival?

We worked with Vilay Dethluxay, who programmed the Small Bites shorts. As is the case with Feast for the Eyes as a whole, we wanted to create a total food experience in which films are paired with the yummy offerings of local restaurants and drink purveyors.

Finally, what are some of the films you're looking forward to most during the festival?

All of them, really! Well, if I have to choose, three come to mind. Opening night, Thursday, October 25, at 7 p.m. we are showing the amazing Spanish documentary called Mugaritz BSO. Mugaritz is one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, and BSO means original soundtrack. In the film, chef Andoni Luis Aduriz's experimental approach to cuisine is set to the language of music by Felipe Ugarte. It's an astounding collision of creativity.

Courtesy Mugaritz Restaurant
"Mugaritz BSO" is about Spain's Mugaritz restaurant, one of the 50 best restaurants in the world.

The second film that I can't wait for people to see is the Japanese horror film Dead Sushi. Think Attack of the Killer Tomatoes meets 13 Assassins!  Just in time for Halloween, it plays Friday, October 26. at 11 p.m. -- with sushi at the screening provided by Masu Sushi & Robata.

The third is a really sweet foodie American indie called Trattoria playing on Saturday, October 27, at 7 p.m.. It's about a family facing the challenges of getting good exposure for their new Italian restaurant in San Francisco and rediscovering the passion for food. Producer and co-writer Dawn Rich and director Jason Wolos will be in attendance for a Q&A at the screening. I could go on and on!

For more information and tickets, visit the Food & Wine Film Festival website.

Location Info


St. Anthony Main Theatre

115 Main St. SE, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Film

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