[Victoria Film Festival 2020] Sovereign Soil, A Preview

Screening at the Victoria Film Festival with the director in attendance.

Feb 13 at 5:30 p.m.
The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas St,

Feb 15 at 12:15 p.m.
SilverCity Cinema #3,
3130 Tillicum Rd

If there’s one thing viewers can learn about Sovereign Soil, I firmly believe it’s in the pioneering spirit of those attempting to harvest where agriculture does not come easy. The area around the tiny sub-Arctic town of Dawson City, Yukon is not exactly the easiest land to work in. Some claim it is very rich in nutrients to grow crops in, but to toil hard to find those spots require more than using divining rods and laying a claim. Thankfully, the weather around here is not always cold year-round.

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Come Aboard for Feast! Food+Film June 13-15, 2019

FEAST-Logo-design-website-4-02Feast Food+Film is the Victoria Film Festival‘s love letter to all things culinary and it will be spotlighting the best treats that the Capital Region can offer. This event runs June 13-15, 2019 and the movies featured has Ed endorsing the search for Shangri-La with Himalayan Gold Rush. There’s a reason: variations of this fungus is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Does it work? Ed says some of it does, if you can stomach the taste. A lot of manufactured medications work the same way as those harvested in the wilds. The only difference is in purity and concentration, and the belief that it does the body good than the gross out factor of, say, consuming bugs.

The film line-up features five documentaries and one feature film that explores the flavours, stories, and people behind a particular cuisine. The line-up and menus include:

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The Sandwich Nazi Reigns Again … on VOD!

viff2015sandwichnaziLa Charcuterie
19080-96th Avenue Unit 8
Surrey BC V4N 3R3
(604) 882-0881

While everyone loves to have a good sandwich, not every body visits the same place to have it made … and hear the life story of the shop owner at the same time. The Sandwich Nazi made waves last year at the film festivals. As I wrote in my review of the film, “A trip to the industrial neighbourhood of Port Kells in Surrey, BC is needed to experience ’s capricious if not salacious behaviour in The Sandwich Nazi. Yes, the allusions to Seinfeld are there, and if the two had to be compared, Kahil is funnier.”

Filmmaker Lewis Bennett said in an interview on otakunoculture.com about how he loves how juvenile humour can play out on screen (i.e. when the cameras are rolling). “I’ve been drawn to people like Salam since I was in kindergarten. He kept making us laugh so we wanted to spend more time with him. The project started with a short documentary and as we were making that film we felt that there was a whole lot more to his story so we expanded it into a feature,” revealed Bennett.

I thought about visiting this operation on my last recent trip over to the Lower Mainland since I was there with a friend driving us around, but alas … it was on a day when the shop was not open. Fortunately, for those people who have not seen this funny, serious and somber documentary, it is now available on iTunes and Google Play. Additional services include Vimeo on Demand, Amazon Instant Video, and Microsoft Video.

To stay abreast with other releases, including a physical home video release (let’s hope there will be outtakes!), please visit them on:

Twitter @TheSandwichNazi
Facebook @NoSandwichForYou

2017 Feast Food+Film – Creole & Chinese Delights

FEAST-Logo-design-website-4-02

Feast Food+Film is a three-day movie festival in Victoria, BC taking place in mid-June I generally do not miss. Some years are better than others in terms of how many movies I can see (tickets are $25 each). Sadly, James is losing interest in going to anything culinary and is very frugal these days. Also, at least for me, when a few of the movies / documentaries are quickly getting offered on VOD or Streaming services to view, my decision over what to see on a big screen is getting difficult. I want to save money too, but I’ll be missing getting to enjoy the tapa-sized tasters are offered at these events.

I did not have to view Cook Up the Storm, but a little voice in my head said go see it.

The organizers at the Victoria Film Festival never fail to tickle my taste-buds. I really enjoyed Bugs on the Menu from last year, and while nothing as exotic was offered this year, I had a well-made documentary in Commanding the Table to give me a quick history lesson on creole food. I love this style of cuisine and will go out of my way for it. To learn more about one of the early pioneers behind raising the bar on this style of cooking was engaging.

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The Hungry Month of March is not over yet, according to the National Film Board of Canada

photoWhile 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.

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[VFF’17] Theatre of Life Gives Hope to the Less Fortunate

theatre-of-life_pub207-5x7_5_7220dpi20accPlays Feb 10, 6:15pm
at Silvercity Tillicum

Feb 11, 6:30pm
at The Vic Theatre
Victoria, BC

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.

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