Non-Fiction Nibbles at Devour! The Food Film Fest
By Pat Mullen
Om nom nom! Fans of food on film should have their napkins at the ready and prepare to devour some docs. This year’s Devour! Food Film Festival brings an appetizing roster of foodie flicks to Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Now in its ninth year, Devour! is already the world’s largest food-focused film festival. This year’s festival offers over 80 films from 24 countries, with the programming and theme centering around “Celebrating Italian Food & Cinema.” Like a good sommelier, DFFF features smart pairings of shorts and features, as well as food and film mixers that allow attendees to sample the delights a movie has to offer.
This year’s festival opens with the North American premiere of the dramatic feature From the Vine, starring Joe Pantoliano of The Sopranos and The Matrix. Pantoliano and director Sean Cisterna will attend the screening. DFFF closes with the sleeper hit documentary The Biggest Little Farm, which has charmed its way to being one of the top non-fiction films at the box office this year with its touching portrait of a family developing a sustainable farm. (Read the POV review of The Biggest Little Farm here.)
The Biggest Little Farm is just one of several documentaries on the menu this year. Here’s a quick sampling of documentary highlights at the 2019 Devour! Food Film Festival.
Thursday, October 24 at 3:15pm
This striking feast for the eyes and heart profiles 82-year-old sheepherder Firouzeh Khordishi, who is the last beacon of an old tradition in northern Iran. Beloved observes Khordishi as she tends to her flock in isolation, longing for any of her 11 children to return. While reviewing Beloved at Hot Docs this year, Tara Hakim wrote, “In glorious colours, this striking and warm portrait captures one of the strongest women of our time: a tenacious personality who lives an admirable traditional life in total harmony with nature; a woman who ultimately chooses independence over everything else.”
-Screens with the Canadian short Côte de Boeuf by JR Reid
Friday, October 25 at 2pm
Get an up-close profile at the chefs who sweat in the kitchen while whipping our scrumptious goods with Merci Bocuse. The Canadian doc has its world premiere at the festival and brings director Michael Nguyen’s portrait of Canuck chefs to the screen. The film profiles Canadian chefs Trevor Ritchie and Jenna Reich as they prepare for the high-profile haute cuisine Bocuse d’Or competition in France.
-Screens with the Canadian short Dish Pigs by John Deitcher
Sat, Oct. 26 at 8:00pm
Catch this year’s Audience Award winner from Hot Docs when Maxima brings a crowd-pleasing underdog tale to the festival. Maxima is the story of a true eco warrior with its portrait of Peruvian subsistence farmer Máxima Acuña, who takes a stand against a gold mine that sets its eyes on her land. “In the end, it’s Máxima Acuña’s presence that gives the film its power,” wrote Maurie Alioff while reviewing the film at Hot Docs. “The little woman in the sombrero and poncho whose courage and will to continue her struggle will never be defeated.”
-Screens with the Canadian short Kahawa by Janet Hawkwood
Sun, Oct. 27 at 5:00pm
Honeyland might be a great double-bill for fans of Beloved. The film, easily one of the year’s most captivating and important documentaries, takes audiences into the world of Hatidze Muratoya, a traditional beekeeper and the last of her kind in her native Macedonia. This astonishingly shot film offers an urgent parable for sustainability and resource management as the lone beekeeper struggles to preserve her way of life. “ It’s a film of beautiful intimacy and tragedy, a rare glimpse at a dying way of life, and an observation of culture at a crossroads filled with heartache and humour,” wrote POV while reviewing Honeyland at Hot Docs. Read more about the film in our interview with directors Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska.
-Screens with the short Flour, Water, and Salt by Brad Sayeau
Fri, Oct. 25 at 5:30pm
Anyone who saw Theater of Life, or read about it in POV, might want to learn how the chefs of the word continue to manager food waste. Food Fighter is the story of activist Ronni Kahn, who combats food waste and raises awareness for smart and sustainable consumption habits. In addition to the film screening, the gala presentation of Food Fight will be followed with a dinner whipped up by five of Canada’s top chefs. The menu for the feast will be inspired by the film.
-Screens with the Canadian short Make Love: Horton Ridge by JR Reid
Devour! The Food Film Fest runs Oct. 22-27. Get the full line-up here.