While the warm month of April is upon us in some parts of Canada, the last bit of winter is still lingering somewhere in the rest of country. Newfoundland and Labrador filmmaker Rosemary House’s interactive video anthology arrives just in time to show the month of March is not forgotten. On the National Film Board of Canada’s website, she has created a journal to show how this easternmost province is steeped in the tradition of sustainability and self-sufficiency―and the memories of leaner times from the not-too-distant past.
The Hungry Month of March is a Rock Island Productions/National Film Board of Canada co-production made with the participation of the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation. This interactive documentary anthology features 14 short profiles of 10 suppliers who do the kind of work that almost everyone in the province’s remote out-port communities used to do―when people were self-sufficient by necessity.
Watching how the other side of Canada makes itself sustainable is fascinating. The video clips are short and to the point. The layout and design of the web page is beautiful to look at. The journal/sketch-book format works well to highlight the various seasons and each page is a look at a specific individual from Newfoundland talking about a particular aspect of harvesting / making ends-meat year-round.
Plays Feb 10, 6:15pm
at Silvercity Tillicum
Feb 11, 6:30pm
at The Vic Theatre
Feeding the planet and the less fortunate anywhere is potentially difficult. To explore this situation is the documentary Theatre of Life, which is playing during this year’s Victoria Film Festival. This movie shows the task in a small-scale is doable, but it takes a concentrated effort to make it work and a continued commitment to make a difference. Chef Massimo Bottura deserves praise for taking the surplus and expired food meant for the 2015 Milan Expo’s many concession and diner operations and prepare simple original meals at the Refettorio Ambrosiano. This food kitchen still operates, and it does more than to feed the lower-class; it gives them a sense of community.
The feature-length movie Bugs on the Menu will soon be served across Canada beginning Tuesday, October 11 (9pm ET / 6pm PT) on CBC Canada’s Documentary Channel! If you can’t PVR this show, it does repeat again on the 16th (9 pm ET/ 10pm PT) and hopefully change a few culinary minds.
When I first saw this movie during the Victoria Feast, Food and Film Festival, I was all over it like ants to sugar because I have always been open to the thought of adding an unusual crunch to any of my meals. Samples were offered and I was anxious to see if a vendor would appear to offer up grasshopper (there was). To imagine the staples — mealworms or crickets — added to hamburger only has me salivating. But the question of which source has more protein needs to be asked. Some people may get surprised at the fact that crickets contain more per ounce than a similar slice of bovine, and this detail is just one of many factoids revealed in the program.
1181 Seymour St.
Not to be confused with the 1998 comedy, there’s a new Sour Grapes. This documentary is touring the festivals and art house theatres and it had its world premiere at Hot Docs. It is now making its way to Vancouver for its official Western Canadian Premiere, opening August 12 at Vancity Theatre in Vancouver. The City of Victoria had a prestigious showing during Feast, Food and Film with local winemakers de Vine offering tastes of both this sparkly film and local cheeses.
This feature by Jerry Rothwell and Reuben Atlas slowly but surely examines the personality behind one of the world’s greatest wine frauds. Rudy Kurniawan was not caught until March of 2012 where he was indicted for allegedly selling fake wines at auction. Many bottles made in the Burgundy region of France were relabelled and sold as expensive wines, like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Clos St. Denis.
The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas Street.
May 15, 2016, 7pm
Bugs on the Menu is a very eye-opening documentary about entomophagy, the art of eating insects. While not everyone like the-the idea of snacking on, for example, crickets, other countries around the world are already preparing it in culinary ways. In a grander sense, not every culture has the infrastructure required to raise farm animals like chickens, pigs and cattle (the big three) for feeding a civilization. When compared to the smaller environmental and ecological footprint required to cultivate these smaller creatures, the evidence of which is easier to grow is very clear.
This film began with a discussion of water conservation, and the massive droughts that some parts of the world face. Before I knew it, the discussion about how insects can be made as a new food source was in full force. It also makes a very compelling argument for changing over to a different organism to sustain a growing population, and in what I liked, just where people can go to try these insects is peppered throughout the film. When prepared right, they can add spice to any dish, including rice!
Victoria Film Festival
Sat, Feb 13th, 8:45pm
The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas St.
Sergio Herman’s high standards of cooking, gastronomy and culinary presentation is very prominent in the documentary of his life, Sergio Herman: F***ing Perfect. As former head chef and owner of Oud Sluis, a 3-star Michelin rated restaurant in Sluis, Netherlands, he pushed his staff to excel at what they do. He was not harsh or cruel like Chef Ramsay. Like him, they are both superstars in this culinary world. While Gordon Ramsay went on to achieve celebrity status in television, Herman never had the time to put his face on any other screen.
In the documentary, the last years of his time at the Oud are looked at. He talks about his struggles with trying to maintain a family (he has four children) and keeping up with two restaurants at the time. He admits to being a workaholic. It’s a virtue engrained in him when he apprenticed at the Oud when his father was head chef. He inherited the operation and to put closure on this chapter on his life was difficult. The film nicely highlights the issues he faced and spices up the story with teases of delectable meals he makes. From traditional dishes like langoustines à la nage to experimental like having a sea urchin shell filled with cream of rutabaga, the seafood lover will be salivating!