Food in Film

An interview with unearthed® Food in Film award judge James Winter

With the deadline for entries of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year fast approaching, we caught up with James Winter.  As well as being a judge for the unearthed® food in film category, he’s also works in the tv industry  as a producer for Saturday Kitchen – live on the BBC. In addition he’s also a freelance writer and a food fan. In today’s instalment he talks about what he’s looking for in the food in film entries.

How did you get involved with judging the food in film award?

I was asked to be one, to be honest and I was honoured. It was an opportunity to get involved in another of the side of the industry that I’m passionate about.  To help pick out some really wonderful and fantastic work by people in a slightly different area to the one I work in but also centred around their love of food and their passion for it

I really want to find the films, whether they be documentary or non-documentary, that connect. I want them to be visually rich with lots of great food images, but they’ve got to have a story.

What stood out most across the entries that you saw in 2015?

(turn your volume up high to hear James speak)

What are you looking for in this year’s entries – to make them winners?

What I really want to do is find the films, whether they be documentary or non-documentary, that connect. I want them to be visually rich with lots of great food images, but they’ve got to have a story, in that non-documentary category particularly, you’ve got to be telling some kind of story and a recipe is a story. But it’s got to have that beginning, middle and end without sounding patronising. It’s got to fulfil that criteria, very simply. But it’s got to connect in some way whether they be just interesting or something I’ve not seen before. It could be a very personal story, or it could be a very visually rich piece that somehow hangs together as more than just a montage of images.

How important is sound in food films?

Obviously food is a visual thing; we want to see the film. But there’s no point in having any kind of moving image these days if you haven’t got the sound to go with it. I want to be able to hear what people are saying, I want to be able to connect and feel the environment that you put me in whether that be a kitchen or a street scene or a countryside pastoral scene, it doesn’t matter. Although we’re watching things in lots of different ways on small screens or big screens the sound can often take me to another place so that’s really important and really think about that. (*ahem* – regarding sound, please see our note below).

Special equipment

I think, in terms of all equipment, I would say just understand your equipment and work with what you’ve got, There’s no point buying brand new kits and setting off trying to make some kind of Steven Spielberg epic if you don’t know what you’re doing. Find what you’ve got and make sure you understand every parameter of how it works and just try and use it to the best of its ability to tell the story, or the scene or whatever or what you want to film. Make your plan, make sure you know your equipment and then use the two things together to create your film. (note: we’re embarrassed to illustrate the importance of James’ point – we had a new camera and weren’t sure how to change our sound settings)

To view the winning films, that James and the rest of the judging panel crowned the 2015 winners and finalists, see below:

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