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Devour! The Food Film Fest sets the Scene with Over 80 Films in Epic 2019 Lineup

The world’s largest culinary film festival, Devour! The Food Film Fest (Devour!) announced the full film lineup for its 9th year at an event in Toronto with the Italian Trade Commission. Devour! takes place October 22-27, 2019 in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The festival will screen 80+ new food-and-drink inspired films from 24 countries, with this year’s programming and theme centering around “Celebrating Italian Food & Cinema.”


“At its core, Devour! is first and foremost a film festival – but it’s so much more than a night at the movies,” says executive director, Michael Howell. “For six days, Wolfville is transformed into a festival unlike any other, as we pair an array of mouth-watering dishes with captivating films, experiential workshops and 100+ events.”


Kicking off the festival is the opening night gala film, the highly-anticipated North American premiere from multi-award winning Director, Sean Cisterna’s From the Vine, starring The Soproanos’ Joe Pantoliano, Workin’ Moms and Saving Hope’s Wendy Crewson, Degrassi’s Paula Brancati, and more. From the Vine is a comedy-drama film about a downtrodden man who finds new purpose in reviving his grandfather’s old vineyard in his travels back to his rural Italian hometown. The premiere will take place on Wednesday, October 23, with director Sean Cisterna and star Joe Pantoliano in attendance.


Headlining the 2019 festival is award-winning chef, TV host, restaurateur and author Lidia Bastianich, who is curating a special presentation of Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci’s drama film Big Night on Thursday, October 24. Big Night follows immigrant brothers from Italy who open their dream restaurant in New Jersey. Lidia Bastianich will also attend the all-female celebrity chef dinner inspired by the evening’s film, and will hold a special book-signing of a selection of her award-winning cookbooks.


The festival will include 24 feature-length films including Maxima, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival’s  “Audience Award winner”, directed by Claudia Sparrow, which portrays a subsistence farmer’s courageous journey to stand against the destruction of resources and corporate intimidation; Honeyland, a multi-award winning documentary, directed by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska, about a Balkan woman utilising ancient beekeeping traditions to cultivate honey in the mountains of Macedonia; and Ghost Fleet, another multi-award winning documentary  by Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron, that uncovers the vast injustice of slavery in the Thai fishing industry through thrilling escape stories. 


“This year’s theme holds a special place in my heart. We’re bringing Italy to Nova Scotia with a solid line-up of films from Italy to complement an array of talented chefs from around the world," says managing director Lia Rinaldo. "We're delighted to be partnering with the Italian Trade Commission to bring amazing Italian products– like wines, cheese and prosciutto to Devour! this year.”


Thanks to a new partnership with the Italian Trade Commission, festival-goers can catch sixty shorts this year including Italian programming with new serial episodes from Dolce Italia, with producer and star David Rocco in attendance, short films such as Distance - Short Stories About Food directed by Luigi Capasso, American Marriage directed by Giorgio Arcelli Fontana, and films focused around themes including Italian wine and olive oil. Nova Scotian shorts include That's My Jazz directed by Ben Proudfoot and Kahawa directed by Janet Hawkwood.


Closing the 9th annual Devour! The Food Film Festival is none other than Emmy-award winning director, John Chester’s moving documentary, The Biggest Little Farm. The documentary chronicles the eight-year quest of John and his wife Molly, as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature.


All films are eligible for the Devour! Golden Tine Awards, chosen by esteemed jurors Peter L. Stein (Frameline), Rita DeMontis (Toronto Sun) and Justin Johnson (British Film Institute). The Awards Brunch is set to take place on Sunday, October 27, at the Wolfville Farmers Market.


Other festival dinners include,

  • The Celebrity Chef Dinner on Friday, October 25, based on the Spotlight Gala film Food Fighter, directed by Dan Goldberg
  • Devour! Chefs and Short Gala Dinner on Saturday, October 26, featuring short films screened right in the iconic Barrel Cellar of Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery with the diners and inspiring chefs’ dishes
  • The return of our popular Devour! Down Home Lobster Supper on Saturday, October 26 

Attendees will have their pick of experiential workshops and tasting tours, such as the Short Doc Shop Talk with filmmaker Ben Proudfoot, the Gleaning Expedition with FOUND Forgotten Food, the Zero Waste Workshop with Bob Blumer, and the Bubbles Bus tasting tour.


Culinary students from coast-to-coast will cook up a storm alongside festival chefs, while also being featured on the big screen in film Merci Bocuse, a documentary directed by Michael Nguyen, which follows Canadian chefs Trevor Ritchie and Jenna Reich as they head to the prestigious Bocuse d’Or chef competition in France, and Stage: The Culinary Internship directed by Abby Ainsworth.


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