BIFF 2018: A Celebration of Film and Food


Forget Netflix and chill. Or Netflix and don’t even chill.

This February, Boulder’s all about film and foodies.

We’re talking sneak peeks at some of the hottest up-and-coming films and exclusive dishes made by some of Colorado’s most renowned chefs. And not just a few. Eight different culinary geniuses will be competing for the love of your taste buds.

If that’s not some #foodporn to get you out of the house, you simply can’t be bribed.

The Boulder International Film Festival is always a mega event, and 2018’s fest is revving up to be the most exciting one yet. It runs Feb. 22-25 in locations throughout Boulder and is expected to draw more than 25,000 film fans to town.

Plus a good number of foodies.

This year, there’s a strong film and foodie fusion — from the film themes to special events.

The CineChef Competition

This tops “Top Chef.”

Imagine a friendly, creative cooking battle between James Beard Award nominee Jorel Pierce and James Beard Award nominee Eric Skokan.

Or Zuri Resendi, named Zagat’s 30 Under 30, vs. Bradford Heap, who’s worked in several Michelin Star restaurants.

How about a competition between all of them, and more?

That’s the level of foodiliciousness you’ll find at BIFF’s CineChef competition. And this year, there’s a new level of excitement. BIFF’s bringing in chefs from Denver, too. Not only will the top CineChef be crowned, based on your votes, but all votes will be tallied up to determine which city gets to leave with the honor of the most votes.

It’s Boulder vs. Denver time.

“It gives it that extra edge, which I love,” says Kathy Beeck, co-founder and director of the festival. “There’s always edginess between Denver and Boulder, and it plays on that nicely.”

The line-up is bold.

For Boulder, there is:

Michael Gibney. Courtesy photo

Michael Gibney, executive chef and partner at Emmerson, as well as an acclaimed author;

Bradford Heap. Courtesy photo

Bradford Heap, executive chef and owner of Wild Standard, Salt the Bistro and Colterra (and former CineChef winner);

Kevin Kidd. Courtesy photo

Kevin Kidd, executive chef and owner of 24 Carrot Bistro in Erie (and winner of last year’s CineChef);

Eric Skokan. Courtesy photo

and Eric Skokan, executive chef, owner and farmer for Black Cat and Bramble and Hare, as well as a James Beard Award nominee with one of the largest farm-to-table enterprises in the country.

For Denver, there is: 

Talia Diele. Courtesy photo

Talia Diele, executive chef at Wayward and owner of Mangia Mangia Catering;

Jorel Pierce. Courtesy photo

Jorel Pierce, “Top Chef” contestant, two-time James Beard Award nominee and the “Steward of Food” at Euclid Hall, Rioja, Stoic and Genuine, Bistro Vendome and Ultreia;

Zuri Resendiz. Courtesy photo

Zuri Resendiz, executive sous chef of Cattivella who was named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30;

Brandan Scott. Courtesy photo

and Brendan Scott, a chef at Charcoal Restaurant and Charcoal Bistro Wash Park, as well as a national award-winner who has worked at several Michelin Star restaurants.

Here’s how CineChef works. Eight chefs are tasked to prepare small plates inspired by any film of their choice. (It doesn’t have to be a film shown at the film festival.) Attendees get one wooden nickel, and they get to taste the various dishes. Place the nickel in the voting box for your favorite food creation. The attendees are the judges.

Taste great food while listening to live music, sipping wine from Francis Ford Coppola and drinking local beer.

If you go: CineChef is 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 at Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce St., Boulder. Tickets are $95, to benefit BIFF. It’s open to the public.

The Foodie Films

BIFF 2018 also has several food-focused films.

All CineChef attendees also get tickets to see “Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen,” a documentary that screens at 7:30 p.m., after the food competition at the First Presbyterian Church.

Another highlight is “Andre, the Voice of Wine.

Here’s a closer look at these films.

“Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen.” Courtesy photo

Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen,” Denmark, feature documentary, 2017, 82 minutes

Colorado premiere.

Directed by Rasmus Dinesen, produced by Jesper Jarl Becker.

“All chefs dream of a Michelin star, and those who have one (or more), work tirelessly to keep this distinction. ‘Michelin Stars’ goes behind the scenes to see how the stars are awarded, talk to the chefs who work tirelessly to maintain their status and view the impact of the little red book on the world of haute cuisine. The film is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on creativity, business and the art of perfection.”

“Andre: The Voice of Wine,” USA/Russia/UK, feature documentary, 2017, 98 minutes

Colorado Premiere

Directed by Mark Tchelistcheff, narrated by Academy Award-nominee Ralph Fiennes

“André Tchelistcheff first caught the world’s attention in 1976, when a blind tasting competition held by a panel of France’s most glorified oenophiles produced a shocking result: Two California wines — a 1973 Chardonnay and a 1972 Cabernet, both made using Andre’s methods — were named the best white and red wines in the world. The French were duly shocked, and Time magazine covered the story. A Russian immigrant, Andre had arrived in Napa Valley in 1938 and began teaching the few local vintners how to scientifically  grow world-class grapes. Today, there are more than 600 wineries in the valley, and Andre’s epic story is being told by his descendant, Mark Tchelistcheff, with the help of Hollywood stars who discovered the great Napa wines long ago, including Francis Ford Coppola, who built his own wine empire on André’s science of wine.”

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