It was three days of harvesting oysters, churning buttermilk, and boiling sorghum… watched by people in comfy chairs as the food they were watching on screen was brought to them. The 2nd Chicago Food Film Festival drew sell-out crowds (only the Sunday afternoon awards program wasn’t packed to standing room only) for four competitive shows of food films, tastings, and noshing and drinking before and after. We’ve got a slideshow recap of the festival as well as links to several of our favorite films (besides the two Chicago-made entries already linked here). Here’s what you missed, and what you can still see, below.
Friday’s opening night program was devoted to farm-to-table stories, and attendees tasted buttermilk from the very funny Southern Foodways documentary Buttermilk: It Can Help by Joe Yorke, sorghum molasses from Keeley Steenson’s Foodways Texas film Good, Better, Best, and tastes of various pies from Pleasant House Bakery for our film Farm To Barstool. The evening ended with a pig roast courtesy of The Butcher & Larder’s Rob Levitt.
Saturday afternoon’s doughnut-oriented event was held in a great location— the plant floor of Intelligentsia coffee on west Fulton. Not surprisingly, it was the quickest of the shows to sell out. Intelligentsia’s own film Espresso led off the program, and other highlights (besides The Doughnut Vault) included Liza deGuia’s film about New York macaroon maker Danny Macaroons, who talked about how he got into making macaroons after the film ("I was told I wasn’t invited to seder if I didn’t make them"), and Robert Box: Perfect For the Kitchen, about an artist who found happiness and relative success painting kitchen paraphernalia.
Saturday night was the food porn show, devoted to luscious and often erotic images of food. The standout in that regard was the stop-motion film Zergüt, for which you can only see a trailer here; besides being impressively well made, it was one of the few films of the whole weekend that seemed to have a darker view of our appetites, with outright hostility toward food at times. The best of the rest was probably What’s Virgin Mean?, whose punchline was obvious to us but very amusingly acted on the way. Festival director George Motz showed his own film The Mud and the Blood (also trailer only) and followed it with a low-country oyster roast featuring oysters driven from South Carolina by his relatives, who have one of only eight harvesting licenses for the salty mollusks, roasted by the shovelful over hot fire.
The festival concluded with an awards show Sunday afternoon which included the goofily overblown How To Make a Turtle Burger as well as rescreenings of some of the prize winners. See highlights in our slideshow below.