Wolfville, N.S. (December 10, 2014) –The fourth edition of Devour! The Food Film Fest proved to be a well-seasoned success, say organizers. Praised by celebrity chef Chuck Hughes for the level of east coast hospitality, food and people, Wolfville, Nova Scotia played host to the world’s largest food film festival from November 12-16.
“This year marked a significant turning point for our festival,” says Michael Howell, Devour! executive director. “A long list of public and private sector partners, a dedicated group of staff and volunteers and the presence of many industry celebrities were the key ingredients in taking Devour! to the next level.”
Since its inception, Devour! The Food Film Fest has garnered a steady increase in attendance, with the total number of attendees in 2014 at 6,120 – a 53% increase over 2013. Box office sales also rose to $86,232, an increase of 174% over 2013.
“The final box office sales widely surpassed our goals,” says Lia Rinaldo, Devour! managing director. “We are truly humbled by the success of this year’s festival. The numbers confirm that there continues to be a huge appetite for experiential tourism events that showcase Nova Scotia’s growing culinary scene.”
Local businesses also reported a visible increase in sales. “Devour! is a fantastic opportunity for our community,” says Beatrice Stutz, restaurant manager and special events planner at Le Caveau. “Le Caveau isn’t usually open for lunch service on weekdays, so the additional business was great. Above and beyond the Cajun-Acadian Express, we also saw a rise in dinner service throughout the festival. Saturday was packed.”
On many occasions throughout the festival, attendees had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with chefs and filmmakers from Canada, and around the world. Organizers and visitors said these aspects added to the interactive experience for movie-goers.
“Wolfville didn’t disappoint,” says Chef Chuck Hughes. “The small town comes alive with film buffs and lovers of great food. From great little coffee shops, to Pete’s, to cooking at Front and Central – all a stone’s throw away from the Atlantic Ocean. We shucked a ton of oysters, ate way too much and met the mayor. I had a great time at Devour!”
Festival organizers strived to make an especially prominent impression throughout the year with over a dozen pop-up events and the Devour! program launch in Toronto during TIFF.
Between now and next November, festival managers will continue to organize Devour! pop-up events in larger locations such as Los Angeles, Toronto and the Bahamas. Each event will promote Wolfville as the culinary epicenter of Nova Scotia.
“Our goal has always been to keep the festival intimate, connected and exceptional,” says Rinaldo. “Wolfville provides us with a magical setting, from the location’s natural beauty, to the many local restaurants and vineyards, to the residents. It will absolutely continue to be our home.”
From the sold out opening night events with international gastronome Anthony Bourdain, to the Select Nova Scotia Food Truck Rally that attracted more than 1,750 people, Devour! was a veritable feast for the senses. Other festival highlights included four decadent meals where national culinary heavyweights paired up with local culinary sensations to create meals inspired by highlighted films, an extensive offering of industry sessions and three distinct experiential food and beverage tours.
Like a fine aperitif, Sunday’s Golden Tine Awards Brunch closed the festival with a full house as awards for best films were handed out by the Devour! film jury chaired by the Berlin International Film Festival’s Thomas Struck.
One week after wrapping up the 2014 festival, festival organizers were recognized by their peers at the Taste of Nova Scotia Prestige Awards. Taking home the prestigious honour of the Gary MacDonald Culinary Ambassador of the Year Award, Howell and Rinaldo see this as a significant Devour! milestone.
Throughout the festival, platinum partner, Eastlink, filmed many live aspects of Devour! Coverage will air as part of Eastlink Magazine on December 14 at 7 p.m. and will be re-broadcasted many times during the week. Visit eastlink.ca for details.
The fifth edition of Devour! The Food Film Fest will be held from November 4-8, 2015. The call for film entries will be posted in January. For more information, visit devourfest.com.
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 epicenter 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 fifth edition of Devour! The Food Film Fest is slated for November 4-8, 2015.
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.