Director Douglas Tirola originally set out to make a movie about corner bars, "but it's not the best time in history for the corner bar." So instead he made a movie about what it is the best time in history for: modern cocktail bars and the folks who run them.
Courtesy Hey Bartender Still from the movie Hey Bartender
Tirola's movie, Hey Bartender, premiered at South By Southwest in March this year, and in the next few weeks will be released in New York and then in Los Angeles. The week-long run of the movie here in L.A. will begin on Friday, June 14, at Sundance Sunset Cinema, and the weekend's shows will feature film festival-style Q & A's with the filmmakers.More »
From the Department of Verisimilitude, or maybe the Ministry of Silly Hats, comes news from Variety that Jon Favreau (Cowboys & Aliens, Iron Man, Swingers) is starting his own food truck. Or at least he'll play a guy starting his own food truck, which is close enough, right? Favreau will write, direct and star in the upcoming movie Chef, in which he'll portray a chef who loses his restaurant job and starts a food truck to "reclaim his artistic promise and reclaiming [sic] his estranged family." Because that happens all the time in real life.
Anne Fishbein A Prime Time Cuisine food truck customer
This year's Hola Mexico Film Festival, which is taking place May 15-22 in downtown Los Angeles, suddenly is looking a lot more appetizing. This is thanks in no small part to the efforts of Guelaguetza's Bricia Lopez and a few of her friends. On Thursday, May 16, Lopez is opening up her restaurant to host a mezcal-fueled documentary movie screening.
"I only hope that this event will make everyone fall in love with mezcal just like I did," Lopez says. Subject of said film? Not surprisingly, mezcal. This will be the first screening in the United States of the documentary Viva Mezcal. The night's mezcal lineup includes Tosba, Los Amantes, Wahaka, MonteLobos, Niña del Mezcal and Mina Real Mezcal.More »
Natasha Subramaniam and Alisa Lapidus A still from Reverie
Faced with presenting at a Star Chefs event in New York last October, Red Medicine chef Jordan Kahn called upon filmmakers Natasha Subramaniam and Alisa Lapidus to collaborate on a film they eventually titled Reverie. They had previously showcased his technique in their stop-motion animation film Assiette, and Kahn knew from that experience that the filmmakers would be able to help him express ideas that were otherwise difficult to communicate.
"I wanted to figure out a way to show people the process that I go through, and the best way to translate it would be through moving images," Kahn says.More »
Back in 2011, when it seemed like the entire Bay Area was seized with Chez Panisse 40th anniversary fever, Hong Kong-born, San Francisco-based filmmaker Wayne Wang (Chan Is Missing, Joy Luck Club, Smoke) asked Chez Panisse's founder, Alice Waters, if there was a role he could play. Waters suggested Wang train his camera on then-92-year-old restaurateur Cecilia Chiang as she prepared and hosted a banquet in her home apartment. Chiang is credited with bringing authentic Chinese cuisine to the United States, an achievement Waters has famously compared to Julia Child's introducing of French cuisine to everyday American palates.
Courtesy of San Francisco Film Society Cecilia Chiang, Alice Waters
Once Wang began filming Chiang, however, he couldn't stop. Before he knew it, his film-clip assignment had blossomed into a full-length documentary in which food writer Ruth Reichl provides context and Alice Waters beams so lovingly at Chiang that it's clear that the food world regards Chiang as a national treasure.
Called Soul of a Banquet, Wang's quiet documentary is all things: a history lesson in Chinese food in America; a heartbreaking tale about a woman separated from her family; and in the second half, when Wang studies Chiang and other chefs as they cook, a mind-bendingly hunger-inducing piece of you-are-there filmmaking.
Now's the time to block out a couple of days to schedule a quickie road trip to San Francisco: Soul of a Banquet will be shown for the first time on Wednesday, April 10, at the San Francisco Film Society, followed by a multi-course meal by chef Andy Tsai and Yank Sing Restaurant. Fittingly enough, the proceeds will benefit Waters' Edible Schoolyard Project.
Recently, we caught up with Wang, who explains how he fell in love with the project, where to get sweet and sour pork and, thrillingly enough, he weighs in on the age old question: Where does one get better Chinese food -- San Francisco or here?More »
According to the AP, Ferran Adria's legendary -- and shuttered -- restaurant elBulli will be reopening, maybe as soon as next fall. But don't start stuffing your suitcases with Euros yet: Adria told the AP that he's not sure as to the location, or the time, or the duration -- although it seems to be for about a month -- or even who will get
Wikimedia Commons Ferran Adria tickets reservations to the show. Because the restaurant isn't reopening exactly as a restaurant but as a rehearsal set on which to train the actors playing the chefs in an upcoming movie about Adria and elBulli.
It's also possible that Adria might not even reopen the real elBulli, now used as a school, but might choose to have the famed restaurant rebuilt elsewhere -- like, say, on a Hollywood studio lot. Awesome. Who needs to fly to Spain when we can drive over to Paramount or Sony to eat tapioca of Iberian ham or razor-clam sushi with ginger spray.More »
This week, movie folk -- both celebrities and cinephiles -- will flock 95 miles north to the 28th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Running in conjunction with the festival is Film Feast. In its third year, Film Feast is not your ordinary restaurant week.
Olio E Limone
There's a catch: All of the participating restaurants must showcase a local ingredient or cinema star. Starting today and running through Feb. 3, 21 eateries are offering prix-fixe menus. Turn the page for five reasons to step on it to Santa Barbara for Film Feast.More »
The cinephile's film-distributor, the Criterion Collection, has been growing a compendium of supplementary film materials on their website -- essays, features, news, press, photos -- and last month it added small but strong tribute to food in film. Felicitously titled "A Criterion Feast," the piece offers a look at fourteen of the most exceptional meals from the Collection. Compiled of iconic internationals and domestic deep-cuts, the films represented and the meals therein aren't necessarily the ones you'd expect. They span the breadth of cinema, continent and cuisine, from Czech New Wave to Hong Kong Second Wave to American indie, and describe mise en scene as if were amuse bouche.
It may never come to a theater near you, but a film with heart, soul and soy sauce has been cooked up. Make Haste Slowly is a mini-doc that tells the story of how Kikkoman's ubiquitous condiment came to be such a big hit on tables everywhere. The trailer, now showing on YouTube, is as compelling as any big screen preview and whets your appetite for more. (And we dare you not to get a little choked up when you watch it.)
Kikkoman soy sauce
According to an Adweek story, Make Haste Slowly delves into the 300-year history of Kikkoman, from its founding in feudal Japan to its current status as the best-selling global soy sauce manufacturer. Kikkoman is hoping the 24-minute film will be shown on the Food Network or other cable channels.More »