5 SIFF Films to Fan Your Inner Food Justice Flame

The annual Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) begins next Thursday (May 18th) and runs for four glorious weeks. In that time, there are nearly 300 film or panel opportunities to sink your teeth into 🙀. With that volume, paging through the SIFF film guide is a full time job. Lucky for you, I’ve taken that laborious task on and filtered out the five most food justice-y films being screened across the city over the next month. All you need to do now is clear your schedule and stock up on popcorn!

If you’re looking to make a day of it, I’ve also included an eatery suggestion related to the corresponding film that you can visit before or after the flick.

Vidas Con Sabor (Lives with Flavor)

Mexico | 2017 | 52 minutes | Pablo Gasca Gollas

This film is the full embodiment of how traditional foodways shape current cooking and eating patterns, not just locally in Mexico, but globally. As Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita points out, “we gave the world black beans, corns, vanilla…just imagine the importance of chocolate and many other things that sometimes we do not realize that are ours.” Watch this film and reflect on how your foodways, whether they’re Mexican or otherwise, are shaped by indigenous food traditions.

Dinner and a movie option: El Quetzal

Angry Inuk

Canada | 2016 | 85 minutes | Alethea Arnaquq-Baril

Speaking of indigenous foodways…Angry Inuk tells the story of the Kimmirut clan and their fight to preserve their traditional foodways of seal hunting in the face of racist anti-sealing activists who prioritize animal lives over the original and rightful keepers and caretakers of the land. “We have to listen to the people who have been the guardians of this earth.” Though this film features the story of indigenous folks who are over 2,000 miles from Seattle, the survival of indigenous foodways is a a local issue. As colonizers of Duwamish land and with the Makah tribe fighting for their rights over whaling, Seattleites can use this film to reflect on our role in upholding the systemic oppression of indigenous communities.

Dinner and a movie option: Off the Rez

Dolores

USA | 2017 | 95 minutes | Peter Bratt

In the world of unsung food justice sheroes, Dolores Huerta is a leader who deserves her own day… kind of like her male organizing counterpart, Cesar Chavez, has (not cool, patriarchy 😒). Luckily, the film Dolores brings us one step closer to making the person Dolores a household name.

Dinner and a movie option: Tacos Chukis

Kakehashi: A Portrait of Nobuo Fukuda

Japan | 2017 | 46 minutes | Andrew Gooi

In the Japanese language, kakehashi refers to a cultural bridge. Aside from its mouthwatering videography, this film highlights how food connects cultures and worlds, but not without complexities. Nobuo Fukda is a Japanese chef who uses food to narrate his story of immigration, exploration, and cultural preservation.

Dinner and a movie option: Tsukushinbo

Jue Zhan Shi Shen (Cook Up a Storm)

Hong Kong | 2017 | 97 minutes | Raymond Yip Wai Man

The only non-documentary film on our list, Cook Up A Storm is a playful narrative of two chefs at battle, with Cantonese street food and French cuisine as their weapons of choice. The plot reads like a kung fu film, with knives and cutting boards in the place of swords and knuckles. Sure, it’s silly and not overtly food justice related, but the film highlights the cultural battle between East Asian and European cuisine–specifically how white supremacy values one over the other…if you really read between the lines 🤓.

Dinner and a movie option: A+ Hong Kong Kitchen

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