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Berlin Film Festival to Toast Slow Food Revolutionaries Alice Waters, Carlo Petrini

RIGA, Latvia — The Berlin Film Festival is to present its Berlinale Camera award, which goes to personalities or institutions to which it feels particularly indebted, to food activists and Slow Food founders Alice Waters and Carlo Petrini.

The presentation will take place on Feb. 8 as part of the kickoff of the fest’s Culinary Cinema section.

In 2006, the Berlinale introduced the subject of cinema’s relationship with food — the first A-festival to do so. Among others, Waters and Petrini discussed this relationship with young film professionals at the “Hunger, Food & Taste” workshop of the 4th Berlinale Talent Campus.

“Waters and Petrini gave the Berlinale in 2006 not only new ideas that led to the creation of the Culinary Cinema section in 2007, but also inspired ‘Food & Film’ events in many other countries,” festival director Dieter Kosslick said.

Author and cook Waters, described by the New York Times as a “food revolutionary,” named her legendary Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse after Honoré Panisse, a character in Marcel Pagnol’s “Marseille trilogy” films. Waters discovered European food culture during her studies in France. On returning to Berkeley she got involved in the political student movement, and opened Chez Panisse in 1971. Numerous artists of all disciplines have since gathered there, especially filmmakers such as Wim Wenders, Jean-Luc Godard or Werner Herzog, who also staged a performance there in 1980. Other frequent guests are American film personalities such as Francis Ford Coppola and Jake Gyllenhaal, and opera director Peter Sellars.

In 1995, Waters began the Edible Schoolyard, a model public education program in which the growing, harvesting, and cooking of food is integrated into the school curriculum, and students are brought into a new relationship to food. In the 20 years since the program’s founding, like-minded edible education initiatives, kitchen classrooms, and school gardens have been founded around the world, including a vegetable garden established by Michelle Obama at the White House.

Waters has written many books, including her classic cookbook “The Art of Simple Food.”

Petrini is the founder of the Slow Food movement that began in the 1980s in northern Italy. Since its inception, it has protested against the increasing industrialization of agriculture, and the displacement of small restaurant and hotel businesses by fast food restaurants. Petrini defined the quality of food with his “good, clean, fair” formula: good taste, clean without pesticides and fair pay for producers.

Numerous organisations grew from Slow Food, including the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) and the global network of non-industrial food producers Terra Madre.

Petrini has authored a number of books, among them “Terra Madre – Forging a new Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities” for whose German edition Dieter Kosslick wrote a foreword. Petrini’s most recent publication is “Food & Freedom.”

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