Berlinale: Culinary Cinema

Culinary Cinema

The Culinary Cinema offers food for thought with films about the pleasures but also the dark sides of food.

The Culinary Cinema programme draws attention to the fact that taste is not only a culinary but also a cultural value about which one can have splendid arguments, even though the proverb says that there is no accounting for taste. For some of the events, top chefs create a menu inspired by the evening’s film which is then served to the cinema audience in the Gropius Mirror pop-up restaurant following the screening.

Food and film are both means of communication which speak primarily to the emotions. The combination of the two is widespread. In cinemas there are snack menus; at home, the TV dinner. In the Culinary Cinema however, watching films and eating food are separated so each element can receive its due attention. The two then come together in our minds so a feast of the senses becomes a meaningful evening.

In this programme, the Culinary Cinema reflects its respect for filmmakers who use their craft to pay tribute to the individual work of farmers, fishers and chefs. It scrutinises the power of the industry and fights against the increasing trivialisation, both in filmmaking and food, brought about by a lack of attention. At the end of the evening, the protagonists again get to have their say on the stage of the Gropius Mirror pop-up restaurant: journalists discuss the topics of the film with the filmmakers and experts like Ferran Adrià, Carlo Petrini, Vandana Shiva and Alice Waters, and the evening’s chefs.

Films about the dark sides of the food world, such as hunger and poor nutrition, monocultures and factory farming, are also an important part of the programme because they raise awareness about the consequences of our eating habits. To allow more ample space for discussions, screenings in this “Food for Thought” programme are not followed by dinners.

Mastercard is official partner of the Culinary Cinema.

Films in the Culinary Cinema can be nominated for the Glashütte Original Documentary Award (endowed with 50,000 Euro).

In 2007, the Berlinale was the first festival to establish the Culinary Cinema format. It is a popular programme. The 200 places for each evening’s screening and dinner sell out in a heartbeat and the repeat and late-night screenings without food are also well attended. Discussion series like the afternoon "TeaTimes" and Tastings, as well as events for young audiences with invitations to school classes, complement the programme.

In the Culinary Cinema kitchen, outstanding international Michelin-starred chefs like Andoni Luis Aduriz, Massimo Bottura and the Roca brothers have cooked in previous years. German top chefs such as Sonja Frühsammer, Lea Linster, Cornelia Poletto and Thomas Bühner, Sven Elverfeld and Berliners Michael Kempf and Tim Raue have demonstrated the impressive renaissance of German culinary art.

The 2009 European premiere in the Friedrichstadt-Palast of Food, Inc., the still relevant documentary about the horrendous dangers arising from the food industry, remains fresh in the memory. But more palatable series like Chef’s Table also explore the connection between cooking and the environment. Chefs and, meanwhile, many guests now realise that a clean environment is more than just a question of good taste.

The films and chefs are selected by curator Thomas Struck, production manager Paula Casado and press coordinator Margit Dörner, in consultation with the festival directorship. Feature films, documentaries and shorts enjoying at least their German premiere are screened.

Official cooperations are in place with the Transatlantyk Festival in Poland and the San Sebastián International Film Festival.

The international Slow Food Movement, with its call for good, clean and fair food, is the Culinary Cinema’s ideal partner.


Culinary Cinema
Potsdamer Platz 11
10785 Berlin