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
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.