Halifax, N.S. (September 12, 2016) – With the star-studded Toronto International Film Festival as the backdrop, Devour! The Food Film Fest launched its program preview with a stellar sampling of east coast eats in the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at George Brown College. In front of a who’s who of Canada’s food and film scene, executive director Michael Howell and managing director Lia Rinaldo served up a preview of what’s on the menu for the 2016 festival.
Coined “Canada’s Secret Foodie Destination” by The Hollywood Reporter, Devour! The Food Film Fest is the largest festival in the world of its kind. The event will once again hit the streets of Wolfville, Nova Scotia with its largest program to date from November 2-6, 2016.
“Devour! is your chance to steal away for an evening or relax, revel and explore our program over a few days,” says Michael Howell, executive director of Devour! “Last year we saw more than 9,100 people attend our festival. We’re expecting more than 11,000 this year!”
The sixth edition of the festival will include 94 unique events over five days including 80 films in 30 screenings, 24 industry workshops, 20 tasting tours, three celebrity chef dinners expanded to 180 capacity and over 20 parties and events. New to the festival this year includes three significant themes which will each be explored in depth over the course of the festival. These include the previously announced women in gastronomy theme, building community and the celebration of slow food and Wolfville as Canada’s newest Cittaslow Town.
Devour! is much more than a night at the movies with experiential tastings in the theatre or following each screening. With 27 features and 53 shorts from over 19 different countries, it is guaranteed that the festival will serve up a little something for everyone. It was also announced that 30% of the film program is made up of Canadian content (up from 25% last year), 19% of which is from the four Atlantic provinces. In keeping with the women in gastronomy theme, 39% of the festival’s film content is directed by women.
Although Devour! is first and foremost a film festival, the list of visiting celebrity chefs unveiled at today’s program has even the most refined culinary palates watering. Among them, Normand Laprise of the James Beard Award-winning Toqué in Montreal, Stephen Wall of Ottawa’s Supply + Demand, John Sundstrum of Seattle’s Lark and Food Network’s John Higgins and Ned Bell. As announced last week, three visiting chefs, Barbara Lynch of Boston’s No 9 Park, Mary Sue Milliken of Los Angeles’ Border Grill and Christine Flynn of iQ Food Co. and Toronto’s Chef Jacques La Merde will play a huge role in the women in gastronomy festival theme. From Thursday to Saturday night, these international culinary leaders will pair up with local sensations to create three decadent meals inspired by highlighted festival films.
Among the many surprise announcements made at today’s festival preview, the duo revealed a slate of visiting industry celebrities that festival-goers can expect including John Henion, producer of the Netflix series Chef’s Table and A Brown Table’s Nik Sharma. Henion will take part in an on-stage interview hosted by festival juror Steve Chagollan (Editor in Chief of the Directors Guild of America; former senior editor at Variety) and famed food photographer Sharma will lead one of the festival’s most sought-after industry sessions.
“We’ve taken Devour! on the road these past couple of years, and this festival is the successful culmination of all of that groundwork laid all over the world,” says Lia Rinaldo, managing director of Devour! “Devour! has always been a place for discovery. We’ve worked hard to find the next best thing through connections we’ve made in other places. We are now seeing the fruits of our labour and this program reflects this in so many ways – we’re thrilled to host them here in Nova Scotia.”
Guests at today’s launch were treated to culinary creations by the faculty and students of George Brown College’s Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts lead by chefs John Higgins and Glen White as part of one of the festival’s newest partnerships. Continuing this partnership on-site at Devour! later this year, Higgins and White will bring four students to Wolfville for a culinary and cultural exchange to work with side-by-side with students from NSCC Kingstec.
Dishes were prepared using a bountiful selection of products generously sponsored by Clearwater Seafoods (who, as a new gold partner, provided their corporate chef Stefan Czapalay to lead a Nova Scotian seafood demonstration with the culinary students), Scotian Gold, Sober Island Oysters, Acadian Seaplants, Taproot Farms and Dairy Farmers of Canada. The beverage menu featured Benjamin Bridge’s award-winning Nova 7 along with festival-inspired Beam Suntory cocktails, prepared by Mixxit, Beam’s cocktail expert Mike McLean.
The duo looks forward to returning home to announce this year’s celebrity headliner as well as the entire local program and official sponsors in the coming weeks.
The first round of tickets to the highly anticipated sixth edition of Devour! The Food Film Fest will be available on Friday, September 16 at 9 a.m. AST online at devourfest.com and by phone through Ticketpro at 1-888-311-9090. Exclusive packages will also be available at this time.
ABOUT DEVOUR! THE FOOD FILM FEST
Devour! The Food Film Fest is an international festival celebrating cinema, food and wine culture. The five-day festival takes place in the culinary epicentre of Nova Scotia – the town of Wolfville, Kings County. The festival is an experiential celebration of food on film, the culture of food and the dramatic impact it has on our day-to-day lives. The sixth edition of Devour! The Food Film Fest is slated for November 2-6, 2016.
ABOUT THE LOCATION
Only one hour from Halifax, the Town of Wolfville and Kings County provide the perfect setting for Devour! amid the beauty of the Annapolis Valley and the mighty Bay of Fundy. The heartland of Nova Scotia’s burgeoning wine industry and the centre of culinary and agricultural innovation, Wolfville is also home to Acadia University, one of Canada’s most renowned academic institutions, and a partner of Devour! The Food Film Fest.