Why I started the Flatirons Food Film Festival

I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii. Most people there are of Asian descent, so I grew up with the traditions and cuisines of a lot of Asian ethnicities. What they all seemed to have in common was a general obsession with food. And that’s how it is in Hawaii. People are really into ono (delicious) food in whatever form it takes. My mom always picked out the choicest morsels of any special food that came our way and fed them to me. The funny thing about this is you really get to know what’s good when you eat the best. (That’s my wine philosophy as well.) I was eleven when I was sick at school and my dad dropped me off at Woody Allen’s “Love and Death” for the afternoon. A couple of years later I was attending foreign films at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. When I graduated from college, I decided that if I was able to watch a movie a night, I would be ok in the scary adult world of making a living.

In the years since then, my interest in food and film has taken up an increasing amount of my free time:

  • I created a blog for Black Cat Farm Table Bistro/Bramble and Hare/Black Cat Farm.
  • I frequent the Boulder Farmers’ Market every weekend and check out new restaurants, breweries, and distilleries.
  • I am a cookbook junkie and read my share of food magazines and blogs.
  • I have a large stockpile of wine in my basement that somebody should drink.
  • My vacations tend to be self-directed tours of markets and restaurants.

As for film, other than organize the Flatirons Food Film Festival, I did volunteer PR for the International Film Series (IFS) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and attend the Telluride Film Festival every year. A few years ago, I started to hear about food film festivals that were occurring elsewhere. Given the interest in health, farming, and the food and beverage culture and industry in Boulder and Denver, it seemed like a natural to have a food film festival in Boulder.

The Flatirons Food Film Festival came into existence as a way to spotlight the IFS and add something new and different to its schedule. When Pablo Kjolseth, director of the IFS, greenlighted the festival, we had our home. We have since evolved into an independent 501c3 non-profit that is making its own way into the world of food and the many ways it affects life on earth.

Food and beverages are amazing topics that have something to do with so many aspects of life. As such, there is an amazing diversity of films that cover these topics. I make a conscious effort to reflect this variety in the films that I select. So, I make sure to select a mix of documentaries and features, international and domestic subject matter, and always select at least one film that has an overtly political dimension. The enjoyment that we experience while making and eating food or beverages is significant to me, too.

An important thing that I have learned by volunteering in several organizations is that if you perceive a need or want to see something happen, don’t sit back. Go for it and make it happen.

Voila! Here is the Flatirons Food Film Festival. Bon Appetit.

~ Festival Director Julia Joun

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