The programming ninjas behind the Seattle International Film Festival have long included movies of the gastronomic persuasion. But, this year, there were so many strong culinary contenders that the team decided it was high time to launch a full foodie film program complete with post-movie dinners at local restaurants.
The inaugural Culinary Cinema program features 11 films related to food, drink, and restaurants that will screen throughout the 25-day festival, including six Dinner and a Movie nights and opportunities to mingle with chefs and international culinary talent.
Below are the five films that we are most excited about. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.
American documentary director Erika Frankel chronicles legendary (legendarily fiery, that is) French chef Georges Perrier’s struggles to save his world-renowned, 40-year-old-plus Philadelphia restaurant, Le Bec-Fin, from the unfortunate reality: New celebrity chefs and shifting palates. Features 2014 Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi and interviews with Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. Screening: 4 p.m. May 21 at SIFF Cinema Uptown.
Ever wonder what makes a world-class steak in Japan, Texas and New Zealand? This meaty French documentary from director Franck Ribiere takes us on a global journey to answer the question with everything from marbling and dry-aging to bovine diet. Screenings: 1:15 p.m. May 25 at AMC Pacific Place; and 7 p.m. May 26 at Harvard Exit with dinner to follow at Manhattan in Capitol Hill. Ticket is $125 and includes film screening, chef’s menu, wine, tax and gratuity.
This American documentary from director Erik Shirai unveils the story behind Yoshika Brewery, one of the last breweries in the world to follow the ancient and time-consuming method of hand-brewing sake. From October to April, a small team of people leave their families to live communally in southern Japan and babysit the alcohol around the clock. Special Jury Mention at Tribeca International Film Festival 2015. Screenings: 6:30 p.m. May 27 at SIFF Cinema Uptown and 4 p.m. May 28 at AMC Pacific Place. T
Replace the fat and salt in “Super Size Me” with sugar and you have this fascinating Australian documentary about the bitter truth surrounding refined sugar. Director Damon Gameau embarks on an experiment to document the effects that hidden sugars in seemingly healthy foods like cereal and low-fat yogurt have on his body and brain chemistry. It’ll make you pass on the doughnuts all year. Screenings: 3:30 p.m. June 1 and 6 p.m. June 3 at SIFF Cinema Uptown.
What do 20-hour days do to a master chef over time? You’ll find out in this touching documentary from the Netherlands about Sergio Herman, a top chef who made the tough decision to shutter his three Michelin-starred Dutch restaurant, Oud Sluis, to focus on being a better husband and father. The tagline suggests it is “an intense portrait of ambition, perfection and sacrifices.” We believe it. Screenings: 9:30 p.m. June 6 at AMC Pacific Place and 11:30 a.m. June 7 at SIFF Cinema Uptown 3.