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Why Foodies Will Love This Year's Chicago International Film Fest

By Kristine Sherred in Food on Oct 9, 2015 1:51PM

Birth of Sake screening at Chicago International Film Festival

From John Favreau’s food truck film to a Foodseum in Chicago and the Museum of Food & Drink in New York, food has permeated our culture through many forms of criticism and art. The 51st Chicago International Film Festival, October 15 to 29, features four food and drink-centric films, three of which center on Chicago. Transporting the audience from movie theater to kitchen, the Festival is collaborating with local restaurants for a "Taste of Cinema" series that will offer immersive experiences that pair film and food, including events that pop real bottles of sake and reinvent a revered breakfast menu.

"When we found three terrific films with gastronomic themes, and all with Chicago ties, it seemed like a natural decision to 'event-ize' the screenings with local restaurant tie-ins," says the Festival's Programming Director Mimi Plauche. "We couldn't be happier with the way these events have come together with great movies and great food and drink partners."

Leading off the Taste of Cinema series, Breakfast at Ina’s enjoys its world premiere on Sunday, Oct. 18. In conjunction with the first of three showings, Chef Isaac Wolliver attempts to recreate the Breakfast Queen’s most iconic dishes at his all-day Streeterville cafe Local Root.

Breakfast at Ina's world premiere at Chicago International Film Festival

The next day, Murasaki Saké Lounge hosts a tasting of Japan's treasured spirit to complement the documentary Birth of Saké, directed by Chicago-born filmmaker Eric Shirai. "We donated to the film's Kickstarter and then the Japanese Consulate recommended us for our 70+ varieties of Saké, Shochu, and Japanese beers," says bartender Jun, which they will serve alongside Otsumami, their take on tapas. A World Sake Imports ambassador presents three featured sakes from Tedorigawa, the 144-year-old brewery featured in the film.

On Tuesday, the anticipated film Open Tables, filmed on location at a few of our favorite dining destinations, invites guests to Trenchermen after the Chicago premiere. The bar offers wine, beer, and the Newton's Flaw, a combination of Rye and house apple cider, while the kitchen shares Thai chicken meatballs with green curry and mushrooms with Nori buckwheat tempura.

"The Director, Jack C. Newell, and his team filmed a couple of scenes at Trenchermen, so when Open Tables was selected to premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival, it seemed like a natural fit to celebrate the film and restaurant," says Chef Patrick Sheerin.

Open Tables screening at Chicago International Film Festival

Though not paired with the Taste of Cinema, Kevin Pang and Mark Helenowski's lauded film For Grace has three showings, starting on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 8:15 pm. The film first debuted at South by Southwest and screened at The Portage Theater this summer.

For up-to-date ticket availability for the Taste of Cinema screenings and a full listing of films, visit the Festival's website. Make sure to click on the "Taste of Cinema Tickets" link on each film's page for the special pairing.

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m.
Breakfast at Ina's
Local Root
601 N. McClurg Ct.

Monday, Oct. 19 at 5:45 p.m.
Birth of Saké
Murasaki Lounge
211 E. Ontario St.

Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Open Tables
2039 W. North Ave.