Around town: A film and food event at MOCA

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Film fans and foodies can both get their fill next month at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary downtown. Top local chefs like Roy Choi of the Kogi BBQ food truck (with a special new menu), Ludo Lefebvre (famed for his “pop-up” restaurant LudoBites) and Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo from Animal restaurant will be serving up dishes as the museum’s “pop-up” film workshop presents short films it helped produce about food.


The workshop, sponsored by Levi’s, opened mid-April and provides free filmmaking resources and education. Each four weeks, the workshop has been focusing on a different theme. The first showcased graffiti art, the second looked at skateboarding, and from mid-June to mid-July the theme is food. On July 14 at 6 p.m., the module, dubbed “The Hunger,” will present the films, which focus on growing, preparing and serving food.

“One of the ideas of this film workshop is that it should appeal to the whole public,” said Jonathan Wells, who organized the workshop. “We’re not trying to replace film schools but to provide a unique experience that you cannot get elsewhere. The idea is to invite all members of the community of all ages to come make films, including city-based niches of people who might like street art or skateboarding or food.”

For the “The Hunger” segment, events are held daily at the workshop to teach techniques.

For example, on July 3, live chickens will be escorted into the workshop for a series of “Chicken Screen Tests” based on Andy Warhol’s famous 1960s black-and-white “screen test” film portraits of ordinary people doing mundane activities. The shots will be incorporated into a 15-minute film called “Wild Goodness,” which will be the “growing” component of the “The Hunger” module.

“Wild Goodness” director Aaron Rose calls his film a “Sesame Street'-style film about home farming with a purpose of bringing an abstract yet lighthearted outlook into the otherwise politics-heavy subject of the organic and whole food movement. The inspiration? “Just being the weird guy I am,” Rose said.

To put an aesthetic twist on the local farm movement, Rose had designers from Futurefarmers in San Francisco (a group of artists and designers who use art to promote social activism) design “mobile farms” attached to bicycles. Local farmers from Silver Lake Farms are tending the produce, and most of the food for the July 14 event will be picked from the harvest.

The “Preparing” movie is being shot by director/animator Lorenzo Fonda, who will film Lefebvre visiting the Pitchfork Dahlia Ranch farm in San Pedro to prepare a meal entirely out of the produce he picks there, then cook his bounty on a fire he will build himself. “I hope I get to taste the result,” Fonda said.

Lefebvre, who is known to make sketches of his dishes before preparing them, will provide his drawings to animators, who will then insert the graphics and hand-written notes into the film like thought bubbles to show his thought process in creating his dishes. According to Fonda, the film will branch away from the typical reality-type shows like “Top Chef” and “Iron Chef” and inject a more cinematic, artistic element.

The “Serving” component involves a short film about the Korean-Mexican Kogi BBQ food truck, in which a team of ninja-chefs karate-kick their way to save Kogi founder Roy Choi from an evil villain. It’s a spunky spoof by filmmaker Dugan O’Neal (who says he was inspired by martial-arts movies like “Kung Fu Hustle” and “Drunken Master”), and it will be dubbed in Spanish with English subtitles to reflect the fusion aspect of Kogi.

The full calendar of activities can be found here.

For the record, 11:55 a.m. July 1: A previous version of this post misspelled programming director Jonathan Wells’ first name as Jonathon. In addition, the director of the film on Ludo Lefebvre is Lorenzo Fonda, not Lorenzo Munoz, and the July 14 event begins at 6 p.m., not 7 p.m.

-- Sophia Lee

Top photo: Caroline Clark, 4, with the help of workshop manager Kris Payne, spools some film across a light table at the Levi’s ‘pop-up’ film workshop at MOCA. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times.