“Lens-based” art nonprofit FotoFocus continues its SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition series this month with the anime classic Spirited Away by director Hayao Miyazaki. The series pairs a film with a chef recipe for a virtual “dinner and a movie” concept.
After a year of shuttered theaters and social distancing, the organization developed SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition as an innovative, interesting way to pivot its spring 2021 program to engage with people online and provide an interactive element that they could access in their own homes, says C. Jacqueline Wood, the film series curator.
“These iconic films all highlight food in interesting ways, and are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year,” Wood explains. “From an indie classic to an animated adventure, all the works are extremely unique, but can be tied together with their celebration of food, cooking, and dining.”
Spirited Away follows the journey of 10-year-old Chihiro as she works to free herself and her parents from the grips of an old amusement park, which just happens to be a resort for supernatural beings. The film is paired with Kiki Chef Hideki Harada’s onigiri (Japanese rice balls) recipe.
“I did onigiri because it is a part of a scene in the movie that is quiet but very relevant in [Chihiro’s] situation,” notes Harada, who says that he’s a huge fan of Miyazaki’s films. “And it’s easy. You can really make it your own with any ingredients.”
The series kicked off last month with indie film Big Night and a hand-rolled cavatelli recipe from The Wheel’s Chrissy Antenucci. Next month’s feature is the cult classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with a chocolate schmear recipe from Sleepy Bee Café’s Frances Kroner and the series closes out in May with the French film Amélie, paired with a selection of sauces and dressings from Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel.
“I treated the pairings of each film and chef just like food and wine would be paired on a menu,” Wood says of her film choices. “These chefs are all extremely talented and integral to making Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s food and dining experience special, and they need our support more than ever.”
Each chef provided a recipe for a dish inspired by the film, which are available for download on the FotoFocus website. Every Tuesday, new interviews, recipes, restaurant specials, and film related trivia are posted to the website to complement each film.
“Seeing food in film can transform watching into a multisensory experience,” Wood says. “You can almost taste the crème brùlée as Amélie taps it with her teaspoon and you can imagine the smell of the chocolate river when Augustus Gloop falls in. As a person who loves to cook, I developed this program to promote the idea that ‘dinner and a movie’ can still happen despite the many challenges that we are facing.”
For more information on SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition, visit www.fotofocus.org/film/2021/second-screens-foodie-edition.