Every documentarian who sets out to make a film about food eventually faces the same conundrum: How do you stitch together sounds and images to convey how something tastes?
If you go
What: Screenings of more than 20 food-themed short films, including movies tackling lemon-coconut muffins, sushi, guacamole, fish tacos and crazy cake.
When: April 24-26
Where: The festival consists of three events: an opening night party aboard the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point; a "food porn" party at High Wire Distilling Co., and the Edible Adventure program, also held at High Wire.
Cost: $50-$85 or $200 for a festival pass.
More info: thefoodfestival.com
For participants in the Food Film Festival's "Edible Adventure" program, the burden of translating flavor to a flat screen is somewhat lessened, since viewers are served the foods that star in the films they're watching. On the closing night of the touring festival's second Charleston appearance, for example, attendees will eat Momofuku Milk Bar's compost cookies (made with potato chips, coffee and butterscotch chips), takoyaki (battered and fried octopus balls) and ramen burgers during screenings of "Where Does a Compost Cookie Come From?," "Tako NY" and "Biting Into The Ramen Burger."
"It's a sensory experience," says Mike Fox, who directed the eight-minute "Biting Into The Ramen Burger." "That's sort of the attraction of the festival for me."
Still, Fox says, he couldn't count on viewers' familiarity with ramen specialist Keizo Shimato's 2013 creation, a meat patty sandwiched between blocks of Japanese noodles. "I'm sure there are plenty of people in New York who haven't tried it," he concedes. So he employed the standard technique of asking on-camera eaters to talk about the cult favorite.
"We do cover people's expectations," he says. "Is it going to be crunchy? Is it going to be soft?"
Mostly, though, Fox tried to enliven the burger by sharing its backstory and introducing the people involved with it. Telling stories about food is the driving force of the festival, which seven years ago originated in Brooklyn. The competitive festival now makes annual stops in New York, Chicago and Charleston.
"The movie is basically about how this came to be, and then telling about when the media picked it up," Fox says. "There's a scene where we go to L.A. and (Shimato's) mom tastes the burger for the first time."
Fox wouldn't reveal her reaction to the dish, but tried to summarize his feelings about the ramen burger:
"It's high-end meat and fresh noodles," he explains. "It's a flavor blast explosion. I can't really describe it, other than to say it's really good."
Reach Hanna Raskin at 937-5560.