Film to Table

Austin Film Festival celebrates two Austin obsessions

Bringing together film and food in Austin is as natural as brisket and a Lone Star, and that's exactly what the Austin Film Festival has been doing for 12 years. The annual Film and Food Party, Oct. 22, helps raise money for the festival's On Story project (which includes the PBS show, book series, and podcast of the same name), and serves as the unofficial kickoff event for the fest. With 20 participating local restaurants, the event also serves as a mini culinary guide for Austin visitors.

"It just felt like the perfect fit for Austin, celebrating two of the things we do so well, which are film and food," says AFF board member Maya Perez, one of the original developers of the party (along with Executive Director Barbara Morgan). "For us, it felt very organic because all of us who work at the film festival, we obsesses over what we're going to get for lunch when we walk in the door with our coffee. There were so many times during staff meetings we would often joke, 'Is this a film festival or a food festival?'"

We like to have it all, so we asked some food and film all-stars to curate a mini foodie film fest. Consider these films a refreshing salad before the main course.

<i>Spinning Plates</i>
Spinning Plates

"Spinning Plates is one of my favorite food movies because it really shows the passion and pride people take in their food and their restaurants. It shows that the food and restaurant become part of their family and bring everyone together. Highlighting three very different restaurants – a high-end, new-age Chicago restaurant; a small family-run Mexican establishment; and the Southern-cooking, oldest restaurant in Iowa – the film showcases that, while each is different, they still go through hardships, strive to make each day better than yesterday, love the food they are serving, and enjoy the people coming through the doors day in and day out. Each restaurant puts all the love and caring into the food and will stop at nothing to keep the doors open." – Allison Kindred, AFF development director

"Our favorite food scene from a movie is the dinner date scene from The Fisher King. I love how it is so awkward and endearing at the same time, and how it depicts the scene as a date between two adults that are basically children being chaperoned by their friends."

– Ben and Olga Lee, owners/chefs at Polkadots Cupcake Factory

"Food, Inc. certainly struck a nerve – it exposed what's going on in our food system and encouraged us to learn more about what we eat, where it comes from, and what that looks like to the health of ourselves and our planet. It has a strong message of standing up for what you believe in, educating yourself, and always fighting the good fight."

– Troy Knapp, executive chef at the Driskill Grill


"My favorite has to be the scene in Goodfellas where they are making an Italian dinner in prison, after getting all their ingredients smuggled in. Paul Cicero is slicing garlic so precisely using a razor blade, and Vinnie is making the pasta sauce. It reminds me of my own passion for Italian food, prepared and cooked exactly how I like it – no matter what it takes. When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life."

– John Pennington, chef and partner at Winflo Osteria

"No Reservations with Aaron Eckhart was great. I loved the steak scene. Tonight, I will watch Chef, which excites me, and we will see if it lives up to the hype. I bet it does."

– Danny Kievit, director of culinary operations at Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

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Austin Film Festival, Food and Film Party, Allison Kindred, Ben Lee, Olga Lee, Polkadots Cupcake Factory, Troy Knapp, Driskill Grill, John Pennington, Winflo Osteria, Danny Kievit, Moonshine Grill

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