Feast of films about food

New festival FoodCine.ma features eight films exploring food-related topics

The Birth Of Sake is about a small group of passionate sake-makers at Yoshida Brewery in Japan.
The Birth Of Sake is about a small group of passionate sake-makers at Yoshida Brewery in Japan. PHOTO: FOODCINE.MA

While picking films for the Design Film Festival over the years, its creators realised there were many good ones about food.

So they decided to cook up a new festival that showcases films centred on food.

Organised by local design firm Anonymous, FoodCine.ma makes its debut today and runs till May 14.

Eight feature-length films exploring a range of food-related topics - from the art of sake- making to the impact of climate change on the food industry - will be screened at visual arts centre Objectifs.

The annual Design Film Festival, which features films on architecture, art and subcultures of design, is running its sixth edition in September.

Ms Germaine Chong, producer of both festivals and co-founder of Anonymous, says that because the Design Film Festival focuses on design, there should be a separate festival to screen films on food.


  • WHERE: Objectifs, 155 Middle Road

    WHEN: Today to May 14

    ADMISSION: $15 for regular screenings,$25 for talk show and $65 for satellite screenings

    INFO: http://foodcine.ma/2016/

For FoodCine.ma, organisers have included films in past editions of the Design Film Festival that feature food, such as Hakusho: The Story Of Rice.

This festival is not just for foodies, but also to "make it easier for people not in the food industry to better understand it", says Ms Chong, 31.

Ticket sales have exceeded the organisers' expectations, she adds. Over 90 per cent of the 3,390 tickets - priced at $15 each - have been booked so far and screenings for four of the eight films are sold out.

One film that Ms Chong and curator Felix Ng, who is also a co-founder of Anonymous, had predicted to be a crowd favourite is The Birth Of Sake (2015). The documentary, which was the first film to sell out, shines the spotlight on a small group of passionate sake-makers at Yoshida Brewery in northern Japan and what it takes to make world-class sake. This will be the Asian premiere of the film.

Then there is Seeds Of Time (2013), which follows American agriculturalist Cary Fowler as he builds the world's first global seed vault to preserve food supply in the event of catastrophes.

Ms Chong says the films were selected from more than 80 submissions as they satisfied two criteria: The film is entertaining and there is something to learn from it.

Although there are no home- grown films in the line-up, local director Lincoln Chia's short film Reunion (2016), which focuses on the relationship between locals and foreigners, is one of eight short films that are paired with and screened before each feature-length film.

There will be a satellite screening of Barista - about baristas battling in a competition in the United States - at Common Man Coffee Roasters, a cafe in Martin Road.

Another satellite screening, of documentary Tasteology (2016) - which presents a scientific, experience-based look at how food is turned into a great meal - at restaurant-bar House at Dempsey is sold out.

There will also be a talk show hosted by Mr Ng to discuss the relationship between food, cinema and design, and two exhibitions on eggs and the act of sharing food.

Ice cream parlour Creamier and coffee retailer Papa Palheta will be on site to dish out a range of desserts and drinks such as an affogato. Middle Eastern restaurant Artichoke has come up with an Artichoke Snack Pack: a reimagination of cinema snacks containing goodies such as orange blossom caramel popcorn and spicy chicken skin.

Freelance writer Stephanie Peh, 26, counts herself as a foodie and is thrilled about the festival. She will be attending two screenings.

She says: "Food is such an accessible subject and, for a person like myself who does not work in the industry, the movies give me insight into the goings-on."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2016, with the headline Feast of films about food. Subscribe