The Boulder International Film Festival launched in 2005, going from zero to destination with well-curated lineups, visiting stars and generally well-run shindigs.
This year, they’re adding something new to try to tap into Boulder’s biggest natural resource behind its strategic national rock-climber reserve: classy grub.
On Friday, Feb. 14, BIFF will be staging the Foovie, a schmancy catered meal from the folks at Front Range Catering that will be paired with the 2012 French comedy Le Chef, starring Jean Reno and directed by Daniel Cohen. That’s right: dinner and a movie.
“We think this is perfect for Boulder because it’s such a foodie town,” says Kathy Beeck, director of the Boulder International Film Festival. “It also happens to be Valentine’s Day, which makes it even more perfect.”
Beeck says the inspiration came from a member of her board of advisors who attended a similar event at a film festival in California, and that it seemed like good expansion as part BIFF’s 10th anniversary.
The movie was largely chosen because of its food themes.
“The food was a character in the film,” says Beeck. “And I really liked that.”
Set in a Paris restaurant, Le Chef is a comedy about a chef desperate to avoid his restaurant losing one of the stars on its rating, a blow that would violate his contract and allow the CEO to clean house, fire the staff and embrace the decidedly un-French molecular gastronomy. Gadzooks! It should be a breeze considering what a cooking whiz the famed chef, Alexandre Vauclair ( Jean Reno), is. Only problem is, he’s running on empty, with no fresh ideas for his fresh produce and has to turn to a brilliant intern to help him out. Enter the clash of personalities and let the hilarity ensue.
Le Chef premiered internationally at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012, and festival organizers allege it is the funniest restaurant movie since Ratatouille. This will be the first time it has shown in Colorado.
“It’s a nice light comedy,” says Beeck. “You want a light mood for Valentine’s Day.”
But for Valentine’s Day, you also want some first-class grub. And for that, Beeck and crew turned to Front Range Catering.
“Front Rage Catering is not a French caterer,” says Beeck. “But several people on my board had used them in the past and said they’d do a great job. We called them up and said we wanted to do a French-themed movie and it would be all Frenchthemed appetizers, and it was later that day that they had a full menu for me.”
Front Range Catering specializes in handcrafted menu items made from scratch, but spread across multiple food disciplines. Available menus offer everything from sushi and mandarin chicken to prosciutto and caramelized onion pizza.
Instead of popcorn, Beeck says, the menu Front Range Catering is delivering includes Gruyère puffs, mini-tartlets, petite quiche lorraine, salmon, olive tapenade crostini, cedar-planked brie, roasted sirloin crostinis and bacon-wrapped dates, with chocolates from Seth Ellis Chocolates and pastries from Shamane’s for dessert, which are, like, le delicious-sounding.
But none of that is complete without the hooch.
That’s why there will also be beer from Boulder Beer. Wine will be provided by Francis Ford Coppola, though Beeck says that just means his winery is donating it, not that he will be wandering through the party in a sommelier’s outfit refilling glasses. Coppola will be providing the bubbly for the afterparty as well.
Though Coppola won’t be there, Sacre Bleu will be. The Boulder-based quartet specializes in French and Euro-gypsy jazz and will be holding down the blue notes for the wining and dining portions of the evening.
And if all that still ain’t enough for you, Beeck is sweetening the pot with fabulous prizes. One lucky attendee will walk away from the Foovie having won a pair of earrings donated by local master jeweler Todd Reed that are valued at a cool $10,000.
“I think it’s going to be one of the highlights of the festival,” says Beeck.
There’s just one big drawback to all this hoopla, and that’s limited space. Because of the venue capacity and food, only 200 tickets to the Foovie are available. And they must be purchased separately from festival passes.
Of course, this all raises one big question: Is the Foovie a la carte, or will it be a regular at BIFF?
Beeck says it’s too soon to say yet, that’s she’s just busy trying to get through this first before thinking too far ahead. But there’s a good chance.
“Without having attended it yet, I can’t confirm for next year,” she says. But: “I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t do it next year, because it’s turning out to be so fabulous this year.”