Food and Film. These are two of my favourite things! I wouldn’t usually food blog about my job, but I am currently doing some freelance work on Wales One World Film Festival, and we have an event that I think all foodies will be interested in. The ethos of WOW is to bring world cinema to independent cinema screens across Wales. The festival brings many global films to the UK and Wales that wouldn’t be seen otherwise. This year, one of the programming strands focuses on the planet and the current state it is in, sharing films that raise these issues. There is one particular special event and UK premiere that I think Welsh foodies will want to come to…
Think Global, Act Rural is a film by the French Director Coline Serreau.
Screening for the first time in the UK, this radical documentary not only digs into the problems of industrialized agriculture, quizzing farmers and philosophers alike, but explores concrete local solutions to the global ecological mess. I’m really looking forward to seeing the film from a vegetarian’s perspective (i.e. Me). After watching films like End of the Line and reading Jonathan Saffran Foer’s book Eating Animals, I personally can’t see how anything other than vegetarianism is the way forward. But then, I would say that. I think realistically, this film will offer some really positive solutions.
There are Q&A’s after the screenings in Chapter, Aberystwyth and Clwyd Theatr Cymru which will delve into local solutions with people who work, live and breathe sustainability. The post-screening panel discussion at Chapter, will be chaired by Steve Garrett, Sustainable Food Communities Wales, Jenny Howells, Manager of the Riverside Community Garden, and Margaret Minhinnick, Sustainable Wales.
The festival has some excellent, fun films that have foody feels, such as Surviving Life and Where Do We Go Now. Two of our venues, Chapter and The Riverfront will be putting on special global menus during the festival tour, to compliment the film screenings. I have seen the menus, and they look pretty special and a lot of thought has gone into them. I can’t flippin’ wait to sample Chapter’s African Peanut Stew at the weekend!
I know for me, whenever I watch world cinema and films that aren’t in the English language, I love that the experience transports me somewhere else, somewhere exotic and beautiful, somewhere parched, hungry and vulnerable. I love travelling, so I guess my love of world cinema makes sense from that perspective too. I always want to learn about the food they eat in the country of the film I’ve watched, and so these films from around the globe in turn inspire my cooking.
Dave Gillam, who programmes the festival, goes to film festivals all over the world to try and bring back and share the most wonderful films. He has never programmed a film I didn’t enjoy. This is the second year I’ve worked on the festival. I volunteered last year after I heard they’d had their funding cut. I’ve been going to the film festival for years (it has been running for 11 years) and I hated the thought of it disappearing and really wanted to help engage with as many people as possible who just love brilliant cinema. About six years ago, me and my homies did a short world cinema course at Chapter, run by Dave and the Chapter Cinema folk. Every film was incredible. We gained insights into the film industry in the country of the particular film’s origin. We were given lists of other films we might enjoy. We took the whole experience to the extreme, forming weekly supper clubs and menus that coincided with the country of origin of that particular week’s film!
We incorporated food into the cultural experience we were having. This is the story of my life. “Where’s my next meal coming from?” My poor boyfriend has to traipse around foreign lands trying to find me gorgeous vegetarian food.
So…we’ve established that I love food and I love film and I think I’m incredibly lucky to be working on such as amazing project that delivers goods that give me my happy face; but WOW also allows us to think about the more serious side of the effect 7 billion people who love food as much as I do, has on the planet and how we can be more clued up for the future.