A doc­u­men­tary about cel­e­brated young chef Flynn McGarry is among the films on tap at this year’s Feast, Food and Film Fes­ti­val at the Vic The­atre

Times Colonist - - Go - MIKE DEVLIN

Or­ga­niz­ers of the sixth an­nual Feast: Food & Film Fes­ti­val are stay­ing true to their mantra by of­fer­ing food with a side of film over the next three days. But like pre­vi­ous edi­tions, both the plates and the pro­gram­ming are new and im­proved.

The Vic­to­ria Film Fes­ti­val is be­hind this pop­u­lar event, which turns The Vic The­atre on Dou­glas Street into a mix­ture of food, film and fri­vol­ity over the week­end. Six doc­u­men­taries are be­ing shown dur­ing the fes­ti­val, each with lo­cal and re­gional food and bev­er­age pair­ings de­signed to com­ple­ment what is be­ing shown on screen. The low-cost ad­mis­sion price (films and food are paired to­gether for be­tween $20 and $25 per event), which has made Feast one of the top events for the lo­cal food and film com­mu­nity each year.

“The town is re­ally pick­ing up,” said Vic­to­ria Film Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Kathy Kay.

As the culi­nary scene in Greater Vic­to­ria con­tin­ues to rocket — Yates Street’s Agrius was named to the list of Canada’s 100 Best Restau­rants in 2018 — the fes­ti­val has seen its pro­file rise in tan­dem. “There’s so many cool, hip places to go to that we didn’t have be­fore in the city. [As a re­sult], a broader range of ages are go­ing to Feast; it’s not just boomers any­more. I have seen that change over the years.”

Early edi­tions of Feast saw screen­ings at the 213-seat the­atre hit ca­pac­ity, which made life dif­fi­cult for the servers at­tempt­ing to pass pa­trons their food mid-film. The fes­ti­val sells fewer tick­ets than it once did, by de­sign. “We don’t fill the the­atre now,” Kay said. “We leave a row empty in be­tween so we can serve food and drinks.”

The fes­ti­val opens tonight with two films and com­ple­men­tary food of­fer­ings: Fer­mented (which starts at 5:30 p.m.), a doc­u­men­tary about the trendy fer­ment­ing process, comes with fer­mented snacks from Mother Na­ture’s Mar­ket & Deli, kom­bucha by Cul­tured Kom­bucha and ve­gan cheeses by The Cul­tured Nut. Miche­lin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen (7:30 p.m.), which looks at the myth­i­cal Miche­lin Guide of fine din­ing, will sa­ti­ate pa­trons with cock­tails by Sher­ing­ham Dis­tillery and hors d’oeu­vres from Toque Ca­ter­ing.

Other en­tries in the fes­ti­val in­clude The God­desses of Food (which screens Fri­day at 5:30 p.m.), Scotch — A Golden Dream (Fri­day, 8:30 p.m.), Chef Flynn (Satur­day, 5 p.m.) and New Chefs on the Block (Satur­day, 8 p.m.). Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from The Kitchens of Dis­tinc­tion, Sea Cider, The Strath Liquor Store, Vic­to­ria Cale­do­nian Dis­tillery, Ac­cio and Top Soil will pro­vide food and bev­er­age on Fri­day and Satur­day, mak­ing a fes­ti­val that al­ready stands on its own from a film pro­gram­ming per­spec­tive with a wide va­ri­ety of pal­ette-pleas­ing ad­di­tions.

“We wanted a broad range of films and dif­fer­ent top­ics, so not ev­ery one was about wine,” Kay said with a laugh. Her favourite part of the fes­ti­val is when the the­atre emp­ties af­ter each screen­ing and the guests gather in the lobby, dis­cussing what they have both seen and eaten. “They are al­ways buzzing. When peo­ple have a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence, it makes me happy.”

Flynn McGarry in the doc­u­men­tary Chef Flynn.

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