FOOD ON FILM
Sacramento festival serves up tasty movies for a cause.
WRITTEN BY AMBER K. STOTT
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FOOD LITERACY CENTER
A Food Literacy Center volunteer passes out bites prepared by local chefs at the 2017 event
I n Sacramento, you can sit back, watch a movie, and enjoy bites from Sacramento’s top chefs all at one delicious event: the Sacramento Food Film Festival. It’s an annual fundraiser for the nonprofit Food Literacy Center. The event was created by local food blogger Catherine Enfield to increase consumers’ food literacy, and it has since grown to raise $50,000 annually for the local charity.
“I had realized that there were many food documentaries that were being made but rarely screened in Sacramento,” Enfield says. “I wanted to see them and felt that others would too, so I started with a selection of films that had topics I was interested in.”
That was in 2012. Enfield was starting the film festival at the same time I was launching the Food Literacy Center. We formed a natural partnership through shared missions.
“I wanted to support the organization, especially since it fell in line with what I was trying to do — educate about food, where it comes from, the part it plays in our lives and health,” Enfield says.
A Food Literacy Center student helps prepare popcorn for 2017 festival guests
from UC Davis’ dining services and Nixtaco prepare bites for 2017 festival guests
This isn’t a traditional nonprofit fundraiser. No rubbery chicken dinners here. Patrons dine on creative, out-of-the-box cuisine prepared on site by the area’s best chefs. In the past, chefs have included such Sacramento luminaries as Randall Selland of Selland Family Restaurants, Paragary’s Kurt Spataro, and Billy Ngo of Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine, Fish Face Poke Bar, and Healthy Hounds Kitchen. As the film plays, guests actually eat what they’re watching on the screen.
Now in its seventh year, the 2018 festival kicks off with Saturday Night Shorts, an evening of short food films, a lineup of six top area chefs, and standup comedy. The festival also includes an evening at Lucca Restaurant & Bar in Sacramento, where a feature film is paired with a multi-course meal for an intimate audience of 40. The festival finale is held on a 2.5-acre empty lot adjacent to Leataata Floyd Elementary School, the site of Food Literacy Center’s future Broccoli Headquarters cooking school for youths. That event will feature celebrated fruit-to-root chef Brenda Ruiz, who will prepare multiple courses modeling the ideal school lunch. Guests will enjoy an outdoor documentary food film while they dine.
Funds raised from the event support the Food Literacy Center’s mission to inspire young people to eat their vegetables, a program that currently serves 1,200 elementary students every week in low-income schools in South Sacramento.
Amber K. Stott is CEO of the nonprofit Food Literacy Center, inspiring kids to eat their veggies. She’s a food writer and has been named a Food Revolution Hero by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, one of Food Tank’s 20 Innovators Protecting the Planet, and a TEDx Sacramento Changemaker Fellow.
Sacramento Food Film Festival
April 11 – 15, 2018*
An evening at Lucca Restaurant & Bar
April 11 at 6 p.m.
Tickets: $40 early-bird general admission; $65 VIP
Feature film and multi-course meal.
Saturday Night Shorts at The Colonial Theatre
April 14 at 6 p.m.
Bites served with each short film.
Finale event featuring chef Brenda Ruiz at Leataata Floyd Elementary School
April 15 at 6 p.m.
Multi-course meal served outdoors under the stars.
*At press time, film selections for this year’s festival had not been announced. For details, visit Foodliteracycenter.org.