Complete this form with your details for accessing the contents reserved for registered users
Click here
Forgotten your password? Click here


You have still not activated your email. We have sent you an email. You must click on the attached link to activate your account.

You are in: Home > 2016. 64th Edition  > News > The seven films in the Culinary Zinema section will take us to the origins, traditions and future of food
The seven films in the Culinary Zinema section will take us to the origins, traditions and future of food
Six documentaries and a fiction feature will compete for the Tokyo Gohan Award in the San Sebastian Festival section combining cinema and gastronomy
Tickets for the screening-dinner combo will be available for purchase from Monday, September 5th
Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Culinary Zinema, the section combining film and gastronomy, turns six this year. Created in collaboration with the Berlin Festival and organised jointly with the Basque Culinary Center, this edition it brings seven competing films, all documentaries except one. Cuisine from Turkey, Argentina and Baja California; Japanese markets, family cookbooks from Taiwan, insects and food waste as a culinary basis make up the menu of the Festival’s 64th edition.

The section opens with Theater of Life, looking at the experience of the Refettorio Ambrosiano, the soup kitchen run at Milan’s 2015 World’s Fair by Massimo Bottura -also the leading figure last year of one of the documentaries in Culinary Zinema, Chef's Table "Massimo Bottura"- where more than 40 of the world’s most famous chefs prepared meals using nothing but the wastage of the event’s pavilions. The Canadian filmmaker Peter Svatek, who has delved with his films into subjects as widely ranging as mixed martial arts or the stolen children of Argentina, signs this work.

Filmmaking twosome Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, whose latest work, El ciudadano ilustre (The Distinguished Citizen) will compete for the Golden Lion in Venice, will precisely explore in Todo sobre el asado the subject promised in its title, translating as ‘everything about grilling’: a voyage to a kind of food and a ritual that portrays an essential part of Argentinian identity. To narrate the story, Cohn and Duprat have adopted a point of view alternating between witticism and irreverence.

In Bugs we take a look at the future of food, at least from the perspective of René Redzepi’s Nordic Food Lab. In this Danish production, selected for festivals including Tribeca and Edinburgh, Andreas Johnsen follows two chefs from the experimental laboratory as they investigate the insects eaten round the world.

Baja Taste also connects to posterity, although somewhat closer. This documentary, directed by the Mexican filmmaker Roberto Nájera, turns the spotlight on the new Mexican cuisine coming out of Baja California, analysing the gastronomic phenomenon through four chefs.

Mitsuhito Shirada’s third movie, Mama, gohan mada? / What’s for Dinner, Mom?, is based on the novel by the writer and actress Tae Hitoto, in which a woman starts reconstructing the life of her mother, who emigrated from Japan to Taiwan, on discovering a box of letters and recipes in the old family home.

Luis González, co-director of Cooking up a Tribute, selected last year for Culinary Zinema, looks in The Turkish Way at how the Roca brothers set about learning the basics of Turkish cuisine, one of the least known, vigorous and oldest gastronomies on the planet.

The closing film will transfer the audience to the biggest fish and seafood market in the world. Naotaro Endo, author of the award-winning independent film Guzen no tsutsuki, directs Tsukiji Wonderland, a documentary about Tsukiji Market, standing in the centre of Tokyo for the last 80 years. Fish and seafood from this market are the ingredients used for traditional Japanese cuisine going by the name of ‘washoku’.

Rounding off the cinematic experience, as in other years, are dinners related to the content of the films screened. A team of teacher-chefs of Basque Culinary Center who took part in Refettorio Ambrosiano will prepare the opening gala dinner. Joxean Eizmendi, from the Asador Illara, will work with the Todo sobre el asado film crew; and Turkish chef Mehmet Gürs will throw a banquet based on his country’s traditional products. Cheung Yat Sing, head of the Michelin-star Tim Ho Wan restaurant chain in Hong Kong, will work with the chef at the Ni Neu, Mikel Gallo, to prepare a menu following the family recipes of Taiwan as seen in Mama, Gohan Mada? / What's for Dinner, Mom? The restauranteur living in Tijuana, Javier Plascencia, will devise the menu linked to Baja Taste; the Sardinian chef Roberto Flore, now at the head of the Nordic Food Lab, will create a dinner taking its inspiration from Bugs; and, lastly, the closing gala dinner by Ricardo Sanz, creator of the so-called Kabuki cuisine, will focus on the Japanese-Mediterranean cookbook. With the exception of the dinners served at the Illara and in the ni neu, all other meals will be hosted by the Basque Culinary Center.

The combined screening-dinner tickets can be purchased from September 5th at a price of €70 euros from the Festival and Kutxabank websites. Tickets for the screenings alone will go on sale on September 11th and will cost €7.20.

Culinary Zinema has Nespresso as the section Sponsor. The Pictures dept. co. ltd. distribution company, which also chiefly focusses on the film & food fusion, is a collaborator of the section. A jury chosen by Pictures dept. co. ltd., will present one of the films programmed in the Culinary Zinema section with the Tokyo Gohan Award and its €10,000, going to the international distributor of the film, or failing this, to its producer.


17 September:
Theater of Life
Peter Svatek
Country(ies) of production: Canada
Opening Night Film

During Milan's World Fair on "feeding the planet," the world's greatest chefs will transform the Expo's food waste into meals for the poor and homeless.

18 September:
Todo sobre el asado
Mariano Cohn, Gastón Duprat
Country(ies) of production: Argentina - Spain

Todo sobre el asado is a journey into deepest Argentina. Grilled meat is a food and a ritual. It is primitive and contemporary, wild and refined, an art and a science. Few phenomena reveal with greater originality and precision the essential traits of a national identity. For the first time a film makes its take on this almost holy tradition from a sharp and irreverent angle. 

19 September:
The Turkish Way
Luis González
Country(ies) of production: Spain

The Turkish Way narrates, travelogue style, the experiences of the three Roca siblings in Turkey as they learn about one of the least known, strongest and oldest gastronomies on the planet.

20 September:
Mama, Gohan Mada? / What's for Dinner, Mom?
Mitsuhito Shiraha
Country(ies) of production: Japan

Two sisters Tae and Yo come back to their old house which is soon to be torn down. Clearing up the family mementos, Tae finds a red box full of recipes and letters written by their mother who died 20 years ago. In these recipes and letters, she finds out how her mother had struggled in her life by relocation from Japan to Taiwan, the death of her Taiwanese husband, and a battle with cancer. Tae travels to Taiwan to trace back the mother's past reminiscing about the dishes she made for the family.

21 September:
Baja Taste
Roberto Nájera
Country(ies) of production: Mexico

Documentary narrating the creative origins of the four chefs who have cultivated and developed the unique Baja California cuisine currently enjoying international recognition. The film journeys through the mind and soul of each chef, exploring the source of their inspiration to spawn a Mexican nouvelle cuisine which is rapidly becoming a worldwide gastronomic phenomenon. 

22 September:
© Andreas Johnsen
Andreas Johnsen
Country(ies) of production: Denmark

Ben, Josh and Roberto, three charismatic young chefs from René Redzepi's experimental Nordic Food Lab, investigate around the world how insects are eaten - said to be the future of food.

23 September:
Tsukiji Wonderland
Naotaro Endo
Country(ies) of production: Japan
Closing Night Film

Tsukiji is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. It was built some 80 years ago in central Tokyo and has continued to fascinate people throughout its rich history. Fish and seafood from Tsukiji form the core of washoku, the traditional Japanese cuisine listed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012. The film shows the passion of those who work in Tsukiji and the essence of traditional Japanese cuisine. 

Day - Film

Opening. Saturday 17
Basque Culinary Center
Basque Culinary Center team of chefs-professors

Sunday 18
Asador Illarra
Joxean Eizmendi

Monday 19
Basque Culinary Center
Mehmet Gürsv

Tuesday 20
ni neu
Mikel Gallo & Cheung Yat Sing

Wednesday 21
Basque Culinary Center
Javier Plascencia

Thursday 22
Basque Culinary Center
Roberto Flore

Closing. Friday 23
Basque Culinary Center
Ricardo Sanz

The chefs

basque culinary center team of chefs-professors

The Basque Culinary Center team of chefs-professors, who participated in the Refettorio Ambrosiano experience, will prepare the opening dinner. The Basque Culinary Center chefs-professors teach subjects for university and master’s degrees. They form a team of international chefs with an extensive professional background. They participate in and lead the way with innovative methodologies ranging from training in traditional gastronomy to the development of advanced avant-garde culinary techniques for professionals.


With the collaboration of the film crew, Joxean Eizmendi will put all sorts of meat on the grill. The chef from San Sebastian fronts the Illara restaurant, where he showcases traditional Basque cuisine with creative touches and a very fine selection of the best in seasonal produce.


Turkish chef, Mehmet Gürs, partner of 19 successful restaurants and cafés, upholds traditional produce lovingly prepared and transformed using a combination of techniques old and new. He has worked in research and creative processes with a team of chefs, a full-time anthropologist, the inhabitants of small villages, mothers and grandfathers, giving rise to an extensive network and deep knowledge of the region’s traditional habits, products and techniques.


Backed by more than 30 years of dedication solely to producing Dim Sum, Cheung Yat Sing is executive chef of the Tim Ho Wan group, a chain of restaurants specialising in this Cantonese food with branches in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, the Philippines and Hong Kong, where it has a Michelin star. For his part, at the ni neu restaurant Mikel Gallo prepares avantguard cuisine with a vocation of proximity. And his success is remarkable, with accessible dishes based on traditional recipes yet interpreted with contemporary techniques. The result is a gastronomy that blends in perfectly with its setting: the Kursaal Congress Centre.


Chef residing in Tijuana (Mexico), known for his innovative, sustainable take on the cuisine of Baja California. The star of the dishes produced at Misión 19 is local, seasonal produce from the region’s fields, farmhouses, land and sea. His vocation at the Misión 19 is to revamp the Tijuana food scene.


The chef from Sardinia is head chef at the Nordic Food Lab, the research laboratory created by René Redzepi in Copenhagen. Flore grew up amid great biodiversity and studied agronomy, going on to make this way of life and passion his work.


Ricardo Sanz entered the world of Japanese culinary art thanks to Masao Kikuchi, who offered him the chance to work alongside him at the iconic Tokyo Taro. After four years of apprenticeship, he joined other partners to create the first Kabuki restaurant, where he was head chef and at which he produced what is known as ‘Kabuki cuisine’. Every day the Kabuki serves its own meld of Japanese-Mediterranean dishes. At the restaurant, Ricardo Sanz masterfully adapts traditional Japanese recipes to the produce of the national market. Dishes of exceedingly high quality and creative standards which consistently express the purest of flavours.

Official Sponsor
Media Partner
Official Collaborators:
Associated Institutions:
© San Sebastian International Film Festival | Developed by: Yo Miento Producciones
This website uses cookies to improve the user experience. More info Agree