Slow Food will present Food and Film Weekend screenings
September 22, 2015
While in Italy filming his documentary "Bella Vita," surf-film pioneer Jason Baffa faced some unique challenges.
"The weather patterns move quickly there and we don’t have a lead time to track a swell," Baffa told The Park Record. "So, we would get a call telling us we needed to be somewhere the next day because it ‘might’ be good."
After spending three months on location in Italy, Baffa got used to those calls and ended up creating the unique documentary that will screen during the Slow Food Park City Food and Film Weekend at the Jim Santy Auditorium on Saturday.
"Bella Vita" follows renowned surfer Chris Del Moro to Italy where he spent his childhood.
"Chris and I originally met at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. I was screening another project and he was in another film," Baffa said. "We connected really quickly, but didn’t see each other after that for years, where we ran into one another in Bali."
That’s when Chris pitched the idea to Baffa.
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"I told him I wanted to do another film that was unique and he told me about his experiences growing up in Italy," Baffa said. "Being Italian and a surfer, myself, I connected with those experiences. If anything, the selfish idea of spending a few months in Tuscany and traveling the outer regions of Italy to make a film seemed like an awesome deal."
As documentaries go, the film evolved.
"The original idea was to focus on the entire Italian surf scene, which includes all things Italian including its flair and the culture," Baffa said. "As we delved into the research, I told him what interested me was his story and I wanted to use him as a thread that tied all of these experiences together."
Nathan Vineyard, the president of Slow Food Park City, a nonprofit that educates the local community about healthy and better-tasting food alternatives, said the Saturday screening will be paired with tastings of ZIOBAFFA Wines, which were made after the filming.
Tickets to the screening are $30 and that includes three glasses of Zio Baffa wine.
ZIOBAFFA is a non-GMO certified, vegan and organic wine that is handmade by artisans with a focus on traditional production and environmental safety, according to Baffa.
In addition, each bottle is made with a focus on sustainable, zero-waste production and eco-friendly material, and it’s available in both Pinot Grigio and Toscana Red.
Meeting winemaker Piergiorgio Castellani really opened the door to what the film became, according to Baffa.
"Piergiorgio, who knows Chris, had the same ethos that he and I, as surfers, share," he said. "When you surf, you really put yourself into nature. I think many surfers care about what they eat and how things are made and try to keep a perspective beyond the now.
"That skewed the film into exploring the unique characters and artists whom we show in the film," Baffa said. "Everyone is part of a close, tight-knit subculture, and that’s what I love most about the movie."
Baffa’s goal while filming "Bella Vita" was to explore various Italian regions.
"So, by the end of the film, the audience would feel like they had gone on a little tour and visited this myriad of locations, including Venice and Rome," he explained. "That said, we were also still chasing waves."
"Bella Vita" is the second film of the Slow Food Park City Food and Film Weekend.
Friday’s film will be Lasse Hallström’s "The Hundred Foot Journey," which was produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, said Vineyard.
"It’s a really heartwarming story about an Indian family who relocates from the political violence in India to southern France," he said. "There, they open up an Indian restaurant and experience all the challenges that come with that."
The film, Vineyard said, "looks delicious." So, Slow Foods Park City paired the screening with locally based Indo-Persian restaurant Good Karma.
"Blanca Gohary [who owns the restaurant with her husband Houman] is such a wonderful person in the community and we wanted to support her restaurant," Vineyard said. "They will serve a three-course meal, which includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert, before or after the film screening."
The dinner before the film starts at 5 p.m. and the dinner after the film is at 9 p.m.
"We know some people don’t like to eat late and we also know other people don’t like to eat before a film, so thanks to Good Karma, audience members can have it both ways," Vineyard said.
Tickets for the whole film and dinner package is $46.
The Food and Film Weekend will conclude on Sunday, with Steve Alves’ "Food for Change." Tickets are $5, and Slow Food Park City will host a bake sale fundraiser before the screening.
"We are asking anyone from the community to bring a local baked good for an old-fashioned bake sale," Vineyard said. "This is a lot of fun and people can buy some of the goodies and have a picnic on the library lawn before the screening."
"Food for Change" is an educational documentary, which coincides with Slow Food’s mission, according to Vineyard.
"We want to educate our community about healthy and better-tasting food alternatives and ‘Food for Change’ is about an alternative approach to the retail food industry," he said. "It’s a documentary about food co-ops, which are basically food organizations where people cooperate with each other to meet a common need."
Co-ops are a consumer-based approach, Vineyard said.
"They aren’t profit driven and are akin to hat the Miners Hospital in Park City was like," he said. "It was founded by miners who pulled their resources together and not only built the hospital, but paid for their own doctor. Like medicine, food is a big business and sometimes the business side gets in the way of end goal, which is ideally to have healthy, nutritious food."
Slow Food Park City will team with the Wasatch Food Cooperative in Salt Lake City for the screening. A post-film panel discussion will feature Barbara Pioli, board member and development coordinator for Wasatch Food Cooperative and Lynsey Gammon from Summit County.
"The Slow Food Park City’s Food and Film Weekend is such a great way to enjoy films, but also learn about Slow Foods Park City," Vineyard said. "However, this would be impossible to pull this off without the support of the Park City Film Series and its executive director, Katharine Wang. She goes above and beyond and always comes up with thoughtful approaches about the best way we can fulfill our mission and goal."
Slow Food Park City will present the Food and Film Weekend at the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., from Friday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 27. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.org .
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