THERE’S VERY LITTLE in the way of food that we’ll pass up. When it comes to movies about food, however, we need to be a bit more discerning. It’s not that we don’t trust the taste of George Motz and Harry Hawk, the brains behind the annual NYC Food Film Festival, running July 23 to 27, but with more than 30 offerings, some things are bound to be more appetizing than others.
In the four years since the festival launched on Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, the event has become bigger and more involved, spreading to a number of venues and encompassing elaborate parties and, of course, meals.
Hungry yet? Since it wouldn’t be prudent to gorge, here are five tasty offerings that shouldn’t be missed.
Lucky for director David Sigal, he started documenting legendary Gansevoort Street eatery Florent a few months before its 2008 demise. And lucky for us, his film’s world premiere is at the festival. “I always thought the diner was the closest thing I had ever seen to Andy Warhol’s Factory,” he tells New York Press. “It represented an iconic meeting ground for the city.” In his film, Sigal interviews over 50 characters about Florent Morellet’s 24-hour diner, including actress Julianne Moore, the artists Christo and Jean- Claude, designer Isaac Mizrahi and showbiz superstar Murray Hill. “Everyone from Madonna to Amy Winehouse has walked through those doors,” says Sigal “It was really a fun movie to shoot.” This event will be hosted by Hill, and Morellet will serve classics from the defunct diner. >> June 24, The Altman Building, 135 W. 18th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-741-3400; 8, $75.
With amazing grace, director Stan Woodward takes us through the South in the search of what makes that area so unique. His discovery is that—duh, thanks to the title—it’s grits, hence the premise of his 44-minute documentary. While the film isn’t quite feature length, Woodward spent over 30 years traveling the region to gather people’s opinions, recipes and stories all about this Southern staple. This classic black-and-white flick will be accompanied by a “Grits Takedown,” featuring entries from more than 30 amateur local chefs. >> June 27, Tobacco Warehouse, Empire-Fulton Ferry Park, enter park at Dock & Water Streets, Brooklyn; noon, $35 and up.
After spending time running Mike’s Hard Lemonade and making films in Hollywood, it was a natural progression for Anat Baron to make her own documentary. In Beer Wars, Baron dives into the corporate conundrum of the big breweries and how they have impacted smaller suds manufacturers. “The film is the story of the big guys versus the little guys,” she says. “It’s like Food Inc. for beer.” She started in fall 2005, right before the two giants Miller and Coors combined, and continued to follow the progress as the new behemoth got bigger and bigger. On the small side, she talked Rhonda Kallman of the caffeine-infused Moonshot beer and Sam Calagione, the president of Dogfish Head. If you get to the screening early, you can join in a beer and burger pairing to truly appreciate Baron’s inspiration. >> June 27, Tobacco Warehouse, Empire-Fulton Ferry Park, enter park at Dock & Water Streets, Brooklyn; food at 6:30, film at 8:30, $45 preorder, $55 door.
The Perfect Oyster
Directed by Craig Noble, this sixminute documentary premieres at the festival and features Brent Petkau, known as “The Oyster Man,” as he waxes poetically in his mollusk haven in Marina Island, British Columbia. In those few short minutes, Noble captures Petkau’s love and search for the perfect oyster, which, incidentally, is the perfect pairing with the other four oyster films, oyster shucking contest and all-you-can-eat oyster special that will be going on the same evening. >> June 23, Water Taxi Beach, 89 South St., 212-385-4490; event at 7, film 8:50, $95 preorder, $125 door.
Smokes & Ears
Another short film, but a good one. Director Joe York tackles the famous pig’s ear sandwich found at 70-year-old restaurant Big Apple Inn, in Jackson, Miss. There, he delves into the world of the pig’s ear sandwich, how it’s made, who enjoys it, the proper form for eating it and so on. Warning: based on the clips from this 19minute documentary, it is not for vegetarians or people afraid of naming the parts of the animal you are eating: You will see raw, floppy ears all over the place. If you’re feeling brave, you can even try a free sample of the pig’s ear sandwich during the screening. >> June 25, Water Taxi Beach, 89 South St., 212-385-4490; event at 7, film 8:45, Free.