Film and TV

Fourth Annual Flatirons Food Film Festival Comes to Boulder October 20-24

The Flatirons Food Film Festival is coming to Boulder for its fourth year on October 20, with a basketful of great food movies and plenty of culinary activities. Highlights of this year's four-day festival include a screening of City of Gold on October 22, a documentary about Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold, complete with an introductory appearance by Gold himself; a showing of short films aimed at children, at which attendees will be able to interact with goats after the screening; and appearances from Boulder and Denver culinary entrepreneurs and experts, including Bryan Dayton (Oak on Fourteenth), Joshua Pollack (Rosenberg's Bagels), Dan Hayward (Savory Spice), Hosea Rosenberg (Blackbelly), Taber Ward (Mountain Flower Goat Dairy) and Tim Brod (Highland Honey Bees).

After a weekend of films and lectures, the festival will wrap up on Monday, October 24, with Taste the Wild, a Bristol Bay sockeye-salmon dinner by chefs Joshua Pollack, Kelly Whitaker and Kyle Mendenhall, beginning at 6 p.m. at Basta. The dinner is $45 per person (with optional wine pairings for an additional cost), and reservations are required, so call Basta at 303-997-8775. 

Julia Joun is the founder of the Flatirons Food Film Festival and has ushered the series from its start as part of the larger International Film Series to what it is today. In advance of the event, Joun gave us a little insight into how the festival has grown and shared her take on the Denver and Boulder food scene.

Westword: How has the film festival changed since the first year?

Julia Joun: We have added nationally well-known guest speakers. We are now an independent 501(c)(3) organization, whereas we were an informal quasi-independent organization that was part of the International Film Series when we started. As such, we are in charge of all of our operations. We will be showing most of our films in downtown Boulder and not at the International Film Series at CU-Boulder for the first time this year. We have a lot more food available before our film screenings.

How do you see the role of documentary films in the food scene? Are they shaping what's happening in Colorado (and the rest of the country), or just holding up a mirror to what's happening?

When talking to chef Andy Ricker of the Pok Pok restaurants at last year's festival, it became clear that he makes a point of watching food documentaries. I think a fair number of chefs are like that, too. They want to know what's happening with other chefs and about what's happening with food in general. And since restaurants have become entertainment and the public is better educated and interested in food, a fair number of diners are seeking out food documentaries, too. As far as shaping what's going on or holding a mirror to what's going on with food, that's a chicken-and-egg situation.

If you could make a film about food in Boulder, what would it be about?

An interesting food film about Boulder would be about how food intersects with technology, most of all social media. I am part of a Facebook group co-founded by someone in Nederland with many Boulder/Denver members that features meals that people eat at restaurants or at home, Food Porn. It's one segment of people who take pictures of their food and share them through social media. This includes restaurants and food professionals, including farmers. In fact, it's fascinating how food professionals need social-media exposure more than ever to promote their ventures.Why Boulder? Because Boulder is a technology hub that also has an active food culture.

How much time do you spend in Denver? How do you see the difference between Denver and Boulder restaurants?

I don't spend a lot of time in Denver, but when I do, I usually dine. There are distinct differences between the Boulder and Denver dining scenes. Denver has lots more authentic food from other cultures, more experimental cuisine, and just a lot more restaurants with greater variety than Boulder. Recently, I had tonkotsu ramen at Osaka Ramen, and I would like to visit the Inventing Room. Those restaurants would never exist in Boulder.

Do you have a pick for your favorite film this year? Any other favorites over the years?

I'm terrible at choosing favorite anythings. Plus, I watch a lot of films, so it's kind of a Sophie's Choice question.

The Flatirons Food Film Festival runs from October 20 through October 24. Most of the films this year will be shown at the Canyon Theater inside the Boulder Public Library. For a complete schedule of films and events and to purchase tickets, see the Flatirons Food Film Festival website.
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation