Ready, Table, SET! A Documentary

setWorld Premiere at Hot Docs
Canadian International
Documentary Festival
April 29 – May 9, 2021

Tablescaping is serious business in SET! a documentary. In the competitive world of where up and coming talents show off their skills at county fairs, it can make or break–especially if that’s these people’s job! It’s not just about how to fold that napkin into an attractive flower but also knowing how to arrange the plates and food together in a way so the diner can feel like a king. These contests also requires a list of pretend meals to go with the display, and I suspect the skills can also be applied at promotions at many a convention (comic book or otherwise). Having a well organized table attracts returning customers.

California’s Orange County hosts one of the most recognized events for this state, and there’s many more world-wide. To be a judge, however, means working in the catering business for a long time and knowing what your clients want. It’s less about the fancy decorations for that one individual to feel like he’s in the jungle (one of many themes seen in this doc), but more about what the table setter can dream up for that ultimate dining experience. Writer/director Scott Gawlik’s work spotlights an eclectic mix of folks to show what this artistic endeavour means to them.

Continue reading

[Documentary] On Sacred Cow & Social Responsibility

SACRED COW: THE CASE FOR BETTER MEAT | IndiegogoAvailable on Google Play.

For other platforms or to purchase the DVD and companion booklet, please visit the Sacred Cow website.

The documentary Sacred Cow is packed with lots of information which weighs in on the pros and cons of consuming meat. It’s ultimately about our role in the food chain, being responsible for how this bovine is treated (prior to slaughter), and the cycle of life. Just what modern man does is no different when compared to the early days of civilization as they rose and flourished. Those that fell, we can learn from.

From a hunter-gatherer to agricultural society, is there another evolutionary step humanity must make? I’m not entirely against replicated meals ala Star Trek, but the concept will be alien to many. It’s good that nobody knows how to reconstitute waste into food at a molecular level, otherwise foodies from the future will be in an uproar.

I’m sure sometime in the next century, people will lament about the lack of tasting real food from their home planet, and will have to eat Gagh (Klingons love their worms) instead. If meat is no longer available, bugs are the next most common protein source and will anyone want to save those?

Continue reading

Supporting Local with First We Eat and Where to Find This Doc


The Vic
Victoria, BC – Nov 21, 25
(purchase tickets here)

The Rio – Nov 21
Kay Meek Arts Centre – Nov 23
Vancouver, BC

Shuswap Film Society
Salmon Arm, BC – Nov.25

Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Toronto, Ontario – Starts Nov 19

Suzanne Crocker’s First We Eat is an amazing lengthy documentary about truly supporting local farmers and living off the land instead of living off the grid–especially in the harsh climate of Dawson City, Yukon. Not everyone can do both; it really depends on how far detached a family unit (or any community) is from various advances in technology.

Crocker’s family wasn’t convinced at the start. Gerard, daughters Kate and Tess, and son Sam weren’t very enthusiastic and their attitudes changed as this look of their lives played out.

Continue reading

Devour it! The Art of Cooking with Fire Lays with The Passion

Devour Food & Film Festival

Location: Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main St
Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Date: Sat, Oct 24, 2020
Time: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Buy In-person tickets or online tickets here.

Price: $10.00

Anyone who wants to learn how to cook over an open fire is best advised to watch the Spanish documentary simply titled, The Art of Cooking with Fire. Chef and grill-meister Victor Arguinzoniz runs Asador Etxebarri, a restaurant in Axpe, Spain, and the food he creates is nothing short of mouth watering even on screen. I’m only imagining how smoked sea urchin in the shell can taste, but when considering this establishment ranked number three in the world’s best restaurants in 2019, I wanna book the first flight over there once this pandemic is over!

In Iñaki Arteta’s presentation about the man, his mission and his life, aficionados of fine cuisine will want to book a reservation and hope they can meet Arginzonz. He’s always busy, either planning the next day’s meal or at the grill, creating magic.

Continue reading

When Cultures Collide in Master Cheng at Devour 9.5 Food & Film Fest

Devour Food & Film Festival
Location: Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main St
Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Date: Fri, Oct 20, 2020
Time: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm

Buy In-person tickets or online tickets here

Price: $10.00

Master Cheung (warmly played by Pak Hon Chu), is a stranger in a strange land. In this film’s case, it’s Finland. Together with his son, Niu Niu (Lucas Hsuan), they travelled here in search of Fongtron, and Sirkka’s (Anna-Maija Tuokko) diner is the only place where he can ask for his whereabouts.

Nobody in the tiny hamlet knows who this person is, and why this Chinese man is adamant on finding him. Part of it is due to how he pronounces his syllables, and it doesn’t make for any comic moments. Chu plays his character up somewhat like Jackie Chan, naïve and strong, but without the fighting prowess and necessity to yuk it up. I feel this direction is intentional to show the parts of his life that he’s closed off.

Continue reading

The Man Behind Bread in the Bones, An Interview with Darrell Varga

Location: Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main St
Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Date: Friday, Oct 23, 2020
Time: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Buy In-person screening or Online Tickets here

* w/ Q&A after the film with director Darrell Varga and Festival Host Bob Blumer.

Darrell Varga is a professor by day and baker at other times. His passion for the former began when he took a class in film history, and it opened his mind to the possibilities of the moving image. Many years later, his interest became his occupation, including penning many books and having a tenure at NSCAD University (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) where he teaches cinema history and documentary film production.

When he’s not in the office, he worked on Hunters and Gatherers, about the world of collectors (and not just geek stuff) in 1994. This work predates the television show Collector’s Call and many other similar documentaries. He followed up with another piece in 1996, Working Days, funded in part by TVOntario, is about the closure of a Toronto factory (the first to close) after the signing of Free Trade with the US in the 80s and the sense of loss the workers had and the community. Not as well known is a video essay, Fire, Ice and Sky (2013) which explored the ideas of time and landscape.

Continue reading