Feast on “reel food” for three nights in Boulder. It’s time for the annual celebration of food and film: the Flatirons Food Film Festival.
This year marks the seventh anniversary of one of the rare foodie film fests in the nation. The event showcases all kinds of films — documentaries, shorts, animations, from around the world — all about food. Topics range from political issues to the pleasure of cooking, eating and drinking. It also partners with local restaurants and chefs to cater special events and organizes educational and exciting programs.
For 2019, the event brings together foodies and filmmakers from around the world, with a special emphasis on immigrants and international cuisine. The festival runs Oct. 10-13 centered around three locations: the Boulder Public Library, eTown Hall and the University of Colorado campus, in collaboration with the International Film Series.
In fact, that’s where the Flatirons Food Film Fest got its roots. Inspired by the series, founder Julia Joun decided to bring together two of her passions, and given Boulder’s reputation as a town for foodies and its healthy food culture, she assumed the community would embrace it, too.
She was right. The event continues to grow every year, this year even landing a long-sought-after documentary about Diana Kennedy, a British expatriate considered the Julia Child of Mexico. Joun says she’s been chasing the screening of the film about the culinary legend for three years. “Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy” is the first and only documentary about Kennedy.
“I remember growing up, her cookbooks were seen as the real deal, the bibles,” Joun says.
But in true Flatirons Food Film Fest style, there will be much more than just a screening of the movie on Saturday. In honor of Kennedy, the film will be accented by a full-on, authentic Mexican feast, featuring six different local restaurants.
Plus beer and tequila drinks.
Plus a celebrity chef: Claudette Zepeda, a James Beard semifinalist who appeared on “Top Chef Denver.” Zepeda, based in San Diego, served as the executive chef and partner behind El Jardín, a regional Mexican restaurant in her city.
She will be interviewed on stage and discuss the movie, as well as authentic Mexican cuisine.
“But wait, there’s more,” Joun says with a laugh.
After it all, the public is invited to a free after-party at Bramble and Hare. (Many of the festival events are free or inexpensive, but due to limited space, you need to register online.)
That’s how the Flatirons Food Film Fest does it. It weaves together multiple layers: film, food, drink, speakers, leaders, community.
The Diana Kennedy event is just one of 17 different programs fusing film and food. Other films featuring immigrants and international food (also screening on Saturday, Oct. 12) including “Tazzeka,” a coming-of-age drama set in Morocco, and “Cook Off,” a rom-com about a woman competing in a TV cooking contest in Zimbabwe. For opening night on Thursday, Oct. 11, the festival will show two episodes from the Emmy Award-winning series “The Migrant Kitchen.” During intermission, Miksaki at Superior and Rosenbergs Bagels & Delicatessen will offer tastes of Japanese and Jewish deli food.
The event will also present a group of master sommeliers after a film about wine and the winners of the Colorado Student Film Contest. The Reel Kids feature will teach kids how to make food films on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Boulder Public Library.
For the first time, this year’s event will also feature related art exhibitions. You can see visual art inspired by the films, created by local artists, in the R Gallery from Oct. 3-20.
Joun says she is constantly scouring different publications and reaching out to distributors, directors and production companies, in search of the best selection of films. She says some immediately stand out, whereas others fit in with the larger picture to help build a balanced experience.
“Film is great at conveying drama and emotion. Film really hits people where they live,” Joun says. “And food does, too. It’s a natural combination.”