Food movies sizzle at the Newport Beach Film Festival

A perfect vintage

The culinary arts have become more popular than ever thanks to The Food Network and growing consumer expectations for quality cuisine.

These are just a few of the reasons the Newport Beach Film Festival launched a food film series several years ago to meet the demand for films about, well, food.

Add wine and spirits to this equation, as filmmakers have branched out to explore all facets of the food and wine industries.

This year, the Newport Beach Film Festival offers five films as part of its culinary series.

“Backstreet to the American Dream” is a modern take on the classic American Dream realized through the epitome of 21st century entrepreneurial business – food trucks – and their birthplace, the city of Los Angeles. This deep dive into the $ 2 billion global industry profiles two trucks and juxtaposes the experiences of American entrepreneurs and Mexican immigrants.

In “Chef Antonio’s Recipe for Revolution”, this uplifting film-like feast goes behind the scenes of an Italian hotel and restaurant made up of young people living with Down syndrome.

“Come Back Anytime” presents a window into the life of self-taught Japanese ramen master Masamoto Ueda and his wife Kazuko, who have run their small Tokyo ramen shop, Bizentei for over 40 years. Ueda serves his legendary ramen to dozens of dedicated patrons who have joined him over the decades to make the restaurant an intimate place of community. For Ueda, it’s more than just a livelihood, it’s his life. And its unconditional regulars are more than just customers, but real friends.

Another film, ‘The Master Sake Brewer’, is about the father of (high quality) sake Ginjo living in the 19th century and his descendant who lives in the present, evidenced by their passion for brewing sake.

“Michelin Stars II – Nordic by Nature” was filmed over an 18 month period and follows the endearing but brutal fate and everyday life of the Faroe Islands and its culinary pearl, KOKS, directed by chef Poul Andrias Ziska.

A perfect vintage

And finally, there’s “A Perfect Vintage,” where some of the world’s best winemakers dance to the unpredictable rhythms of Mother Nature. Watch them enjoy the most epic vintage in years and the rare opportunity to “choose” based on taste alone.

I watched “The Perfect Vintage” and for me it wasn’t about a particular year, but about how the winemakers strive to create a perfect wine every year and the challenges they have. to relieve.

As Timothy Milos, of the Vino de Milos winery, notes in the film: “It’s a combination of science, chemistry and biology – every lesson from years gone by is poured into the next vintage to try and figure out how to get the best out of it. best part of this vintage. “

Between stunning aerial footage of Napa Valley and scenes in and among the vineyards, are interviews with a handful of wineries who strive to produce the best wines possible for each vintage.

As Christy Harper, Assistant Winemaker at Milos, says, “It’s a perfect marriage of art and science. You spend all your time developing it, putting it together, and then you release it into the world.

A perfect vintage

Each year has its own challenges for the winegrowers. As one winemaker said: “Winemakers are control freaks. We want everything to be the right way, but Mother Nature often has other ideas. It’s a partnership, but Mother Nature has the final say.

Something one of the winegrowers underlines: “It’s still agriculture. True, but the harvest is much less forgiving than, say, lettuce or apples.

The film offers fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses of winemakers sampling wine, checking out grapes and other nuances most wine drinkers never see.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie was about when to pick the grapes: “It’s the decision you can’t undo. A day earlier or a day later can make a difference in the taste of grapes and wine.

As Timothy Milos notes, “We run a five-track circus driven by factors beyond our control. One of those factors is Mother Nature, to which a winemaker laughs “Sometimes nature is just a mother”.

Another favorite quote: “Wine is a handcrafted thing that someone has invested their intention in. “

There is a lot of talk about the different wine-growing areas of Napa and their distinct nuances, especially the terroir – the soil, climate, and sunshine that give wine a distinct character.

Another quote from the film: “The main function of wine is to bring joy, but some rise to the level of art.

Among the film’s many memorable moments is a humorous segment of winemakers sipping wine – that is, inhaling air to oxygenate the wine in their mouths.

With jaw-dropping cinematography and upbeat wine personalities, “The Perfect Vintage” is a perfect food movie and deserves a search.

To learn more about the film, visit

“A Perfect Vintage” is screened on Friday October 22 at 5 p.m. at Starlight Triangle Cinemas. Visit for tickets.

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Darcy J. Skinner

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