Popcorn at the movies is for amateurs.
The four-day Food Film Festival shows independent short films about food — while serving the food featured in the films.
As it marks its 10th anniversary in NYC, the festival is taking a look back at its cinematic legacy with this year’s edition.
“It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 10 years,” said George Motz, founder and host of the Food Film Festival, which kicks off Oct. 20. “The first year was total chaos — we had no idea what we were doing. Somehow through our own idiocy we stuck with it.”
Opening night’s “Best of a Decade!” event pulls a dozen films from the hundreds screened since the festival’s launch in 2007.
“These were the best film moments — a great film, with great food served,” Motz said. “This is all about celebrating food.”
Films hand-picked for the opening night highlight reel include “Vegetables: Friend or Foe?” by Grady Hendrix, husband of Dirt Candy’s Amanda Cohen, who is preparing a tomato dish to accompany the film, and festival favorites “How to Make a Turtle Burger” and “How to Prepare for a Midwinter Soup Frenzy.” Tastes from The Beatrice Inn, Hometown BBQ, The Brooklyn Star and more will be served alongside the shorts.
The next three nights of the festival feature new films that explore trends Motz has noticed in the food and film world.
“Edible Adventure: Taste of Louisiana” on Oct. 21 celebrates Cajun cooking, with Southern bites from Tony Chachere chef Jude Tauzin and MoPho’s Michael Gulotta, oysters from Carrolton Market, an alligator dish from City Pork Brasserie, Abita beer and more on hand for the Louisiana food-centric films.
On Oct. 22, the festival’s tongue-in-cheek Food Porn Party returns, with extreme eats from Meyers Bageri, Top Pot Donuts, Breads Bakery, Night Kitchen and more, to accompany films that are essentially beautiful shots of food — aka food porn.
And closing night on Oct. 23 is all about the Land of the Rising Sun with “Eat Japan!” Food from Patisserie Tomoko, chef Karl Palma’s Takoyaki and more will accompany films that explore iced coffee in the Japanese method, mochi and ramen.
Motz’s own film, “This is Tsukemen,” about a celebrated chef from Japan who makes a type of dipping ramen, is among the “Eat Japan!” selections. The chef, who was filmed during a pop-up at Ramen Lab in NYC this past summer, is masked and goes by the pseudonym “Chef Nigo.” He may or may not reveal his identity during the festival, the director said.
“People are trying to guess who he is, no one has guessed,” Motz said. “The chef chose to not reveal his identity [for the film], he wanted people to focus on the food, not on who the chef was. We’ll see if he pulls that mask off. It’s still up in the air.”
In addition to the drinks and several courses served during the films, each night features an after party with even more food based on the night’s theme.
“If you show up hungry, you’re not going to leave hungry, that’s for sure,” Motz said.