The Making of a Food Documentary

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Of all the communication media we use to share food stories, the feature length documentary may be the Mount Everest. With often complex production schedules, challenging budgets, and technical complexity, a doc may seem insurmountable for someone without deep corporate pockets and connection. For story-tellers, it’s a seductive medium that allows for deep reflection on a singular person, memoir or topic in a way that television or short-form rarely grant. Indeed, watching a well-crafted food documentary can be an immersive, educational, and even moving experience, and one that may not be beyond the reach of a dedicated individual or small team. Learn from producers and directors — both indie and established — of recent notable food films about what it takes to bring their vision to the screen.

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An Emmy nominated producer, art director, writer and food stylist for both print, digital and film, Krista Ruane is the VP Culinary Creative Director at Zero Point Zero (ZPZ). Krista spends her days creating original, food driven content for commercial brands and their expansive list of culinary projects. Her work spans from the early days of the Food Network, ‘Molto Mario’, ‘Barefoot Contessa’, ‘Iron Chef’, to blockbuster movies ‘The Last Holiday’ and more recently, ‘The Last Magnificent’, a documentary about the life of Jeremiah Tower. She’s styled (and art directed many) over a dozen best selling cookbooks for authors.

In 2003, Lydia Tenaglia co-founded Zero Point Zero Production with producing partner Chris Collins. Together they created and continue to executive produce the Peabody and Emmy Award winning series “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” for CNN and have since grown ZPZ to a 150+ person company producing hundreds of episodes of television across numerous series, including the Emmy Award winning “Mind of A Chef,” Emmy nominated “The Hunt with John Walsh,” and critically acclaimed, award winning “Meateater” with Steven Rinella. Along with partners Collins and Joe Caterini, Tenaglia oversees all creative development for ZPZ and has executive produced content for Netflix, CNN, Discovery, PBS, SyFy, Spike, Esquire, Travel and A+E Networks and for brands such as MasterCard, Breville, Sonos, and Yeti. In 2016, Tenaglia directed the feature documentary “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was picked up for theatrical distribution by The Orchard. In 2017, Tenaglia produced the feature documentary “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” which also premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was picked up for theatrical distribution by NEON Super LTD.

Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

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