John E. Marlin answered a few questions about tonight’s ASAP Food Film Festival at Allen Hall. Admission is free, and it starts at 7 p.m. with King Corn, followed by Eat Drink Man Woman at 9 p.m., and finishing up with The Real Dirt on Farmer John at 11:15 p.m.
Smile Politely: How were the films for the festival chosen? Any trouble getting clearance to show them publicly?
John E. Marlin: We knew from the beginning that we wanted a mix of documentaries and feature films.
We wanted our documentaries to be informative and provocative without being tedious or preachy. Our two documentaries, King Corn and the The Real Dirt on Farmer John illuminate our food system from interesting, constructive angles.
We wanted our feature film to be conceived and shot with a genuine affection for eating, but also to be good in its own right. Eat Drink Man Woman is a lovely, human film that succeeds at both.
SP: How many years has the Food Film Fest been going on at the U of I? Anything different about this year’s format?
JEM: The Film Fest is quite young. It started as a potluck with a television and a few films. Community interest in local, slow food has blossomed so it’s been moving to ever larger venues. Because Allen Hall’s main lounge seats a few hundred we dropped the potluck portion, but added a brief breakout session where folks can chat with representatives from local food-issue groups.
SP: Have you seen all the films personally? If so, which is your favorite and why?
JEM: I’m partial to Eat Drink Man Woman because of the cooking footage.
SP: Will there be any food or drinks available at the festival?
JEM: There will be popcorn and popcorny aromas.
If people want to bring other snacks (I use that term loosely) it would definitely be in the spirit of the festival.
SP: If a person only had time to see one of these films, which one would you suggest, and why?
JEM: Everyone who has ever lived in, or driven through Illinois in the summer should watch King Corn at 7:00. Watching it will also set people up to join the breakout session.
I think students, especially Allen kids will get a kick out of Farmer John.
And everyone should enjoy Eat Drink Man Woman.