For the first time in its epic 19-year history, the Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) will include a slate of documentaries and films revolving around the illustrious world of cuisine and the culinary industry. Many of the Culinary Film Series’ eight films are global and West Coast premieres, all of them scattered throughout other showcases in the fest’s 2018 programming. Seeing as how Orange County’s own food culture has come into its own in the past decade, the series is perfect to scoop the local foodie scene into its main audience.
Here’s a few notable flicks that’ll make your mouth water:
There’s no one better to teach us about the Japanese noodle dish than chef Osamu Tomita, the reigning “Ramen King.” Here, Tomita leads viewers into the wonderful and savory world of ramen with the help of five Japanese noodle restaurants. They share their award-winning recipes and talk about the history and culture of ramen, as well as Tomita’s own delightful passion (or, as the film suggests, obsession) for it. (April 30)
ULAM: MAIN DISH
Long relegated to the margins, Filipino food has not only exploded into the American culinary consciousness in the past five years, but it has also become a game changer for chefs across the world. ULAM tracks the history of the cuisine, its staples and its inception into the mainstream, but even more important, the film shows how its success gave Filipino chefs a renewed sense of validation as they worked to land respect and prominence from both the wider American culinary industry and the traditional Filipino community. This film screens as the Filipino Spotlight film for NBFF’s Pacific Rim Showcase. (April 30)
CUBAN FOOD STORIES
While Cuba has become more accessible than ever thanks to its recent embargo lift, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the small Caribbean country’s culture and customs. From director Asori Soto and the executive producers of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, this documentary is the ultimate exploration of Cuba’s exquisite cuisine. See the meals and learn about the people making them as they live in a pivotal moment during the country’s history. (April 29)
MICHELIN STARS: TALES FROM THE KITCHEN
As the ultimate gold standard of global cuisine, the Michelin Guide is the hallmark of excellence many chefs dream of reaching in their careers. This film is a deep dive into the Guide as seen by the chefs, as well as a perfect dissection of the artistry and perfection that goes into creating high-end meals. (April 30)
For more info on screenings and show times, go to www.newportbeachfilmfest.com.
Aimee Murillo is calendar editor and frequently covers the Orange County DIY music scene, film, arts, Latino culture and currently pens the long-running column Trendzilla. Born, raised, and based in Santa Ana, she loves bad movies, punk shows, raising her plants, eating tacos, Selena, and puns.