After a long winter indoors, the WD team has kicked off a spring full of shoots for our forthcoming film BLUESPACE, a feature-length documentary about terraforming and waterways. Last week, just a few blocks from our office, we hopped in canoes and paddled up and down the murky and malodorous Gowanus Canal while marveling at its toxic beauty.
Owen Foote (below), of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, told us all about the canal’s foul industrial past and potentially blue-er future.
The Dredgers lead canoe trips all summer and if you have the chance to take one, we recommend it. Paddling along the Gowanus is a unique (and, um, multi-sensory) way to experience Brooklyn, and a good reminder that much of New York City is defined by its waterways.
The WD team recently spent a whirlwind week in China on film shoots for THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO. Armed with photos of the General and an infamous chicken dish, director Ian and associate producer Lily touched down in Shanghai to find the trail.
In Shanghai, a city with floating trains(!), we met food bloggers, study-abroad students, cultural historians, and a branding expert. We took their pulse on the Shanghai food scene, the history of Chinese cuisine, and the differences between Chinese American food and authentic Chinese food. To find the General, they said, head south.
We flew to General Tso’s hometown, Xiangyin, in the Hunan Province, where we interviewed all kinds of folks and captured the local sites and lore. Our journey ended in a village on the outskirts of Xiangyin where nearly everyone claims to be descended from the famed General.
The older man below in the hat had the greatest eyebrows we’d ever seen.
We were distracted briefly from General Tso’s Chicken by “Ecological Pigs Feet King”…
…and we ate tons of tasty Fish Head Stew.
Stateside once again, the search continues!
Wicked Delicate is looking forward to two festival premieres in April!
Ian Cheney’s new short film, THE MELUNGEONS, will premiere at the Nashville Film Festival, with screenings on April 18 & 24. Visit nashvillefilmfestival.org for tickets.
Amanda Murray’s new short film and directorial debut, WORLD FAIR, will premiere at the Independent Film Festival Boston, with screenings on April 25 & 29 with the Documentary Shorts Package E. Tickets at iffboston.org, and details about the film at www.worldfairfilm.com.
Enormous, heartfelt thanks to all the Kickstarter supporters who enabled us to move WORLD FAIR into post-production this month and license the beautiful archival footage that is the heart and soul of this film. We are so grateful!
Poster design by Ed Morgan
We need your help!
Filmmaker and longtime WD collaborator Sharon Shattuck (animator extraordinaire for TRUCK FARM and THE CITY DARK) has only three days to go in her Kickstarter fundraising campaign for PROJECT DAD. Please consider chipping in a few bucks to support production of the film, as Sharon prepares to hit the road this summer for interviews around the country.
Directed by Sharon and co-produced by Wicked Delicate, PROJECT DAD is a feature-length documentary about LGBT families in America, stemming from Sharon’s own experience and celebration of her transgender dad. Viewers will meet children of LGBT families, expectant LGBT parents, family law experts, and politicians from both sides of the fence.
The Kickstarter campaign ends Saturday, June 30! Visit Kickstarter to read more about the project and see links to recent buzz. Huge thanks to everyone who has already chipped in, spread the word, and shown support!
Thanks to Western Reserve Academy for these photos from Ian Cheney’s residency as the Knight Fellow in April. Ian visited the campus to show films, give talks, and lead classes related to environmental issues and filmmaking. Thanks to the students, faculty, and staff for this terrific experience!
WD recently wrapped a cross-country filming trip for one of our works-in-progress, The Search for General Tso, exploring the history and character of Chinese food in America. Director Ian and producer Amanda visited and interviewed chefs, restaurateurs, writers, and historians from San Francisco to Missouri… and ate thousands of portions of General Tso’s chicken.
These are just a few of the people we met:
Chef Jesse Koide at Mission Chinese Food in SF (soon to open in NYC!) wields his General Tso’s Veal Rib, one of the restaurant’s innovative dishes. Mission Chinese started as a food truck before setting up in an existing Cantonese restaurant – for a while, the two restaurants operated simultaneously.
Eve and Frank Collins run the Chino Bandido Chinese-Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, AZ, dishing up combos (Frank says there are 90,000 possibilities) like Jade Red Chicken in a cheese quesadilla, with Cuban black beans and pork fried rice on the side. After the shoot, Eve and Frank sent us away with a huge box of grapefruits and oranges from their citrus orchard behind the restaurant.
In Tucumcari, NM, on former Route 66, we met bouyant restaurateur and culinary teacher Tammy Fang at Golden Dragon Chinese. Tammy’s family is the only Chinese family in town.
At Leong’s Asian Diner in Springfield, MO, chef Wing Yee Leong and his brothers carry on the legacy of their father, 91-year-old David Leong, who created a legendary local favorite, Springfield Cashew Chicken: the heartland’s answer to Chinese cuisine.
It’s been a busy past couple of months for the Wicked Delicate team! And it’s about time we share a few highlights:
In September, one of WD's new projects in development, THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO, had a terrific week at the prestigious Independent Film Week in New York, and the WD team is planning further film shoots. Stay tuned as the project progresses! (Photo taken by collaborator Jennifer 8. Lee during a Wicked Delicate filming trip to Taiwan last year)
In October, THE CITY DARK made its Middle East premiere at the vibrant Abu Dhabi Film Festival. It was an honor to share the stage and screen with so many fantastic filmmakers from all over the world! While in Abu Dhabi, Ian and Wicked Delicate producer Amanda Murray visited Masdar City to do some filming for another work-in-progress, THE GREENING OF QATAR, about sustainable building projects in Qatar and the Gulf region.
Later in October, Ian traveled to northern Italy to teach a course on food and the media at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, founded by Slow Food in 2004. Ian taught students working toward Master's Degrees in Food Culture and Communications.
The Truck Farm enjoyed some much-needed fall pruning!
Last month, after a screening of THE CITY DARK hosted in London at the BFI (British Film Institute) Southbank, Ian spoke on a panel with environmental lawyer Gwion Lewis, Bob Mizon of the Campaign for Dark Skies, Martin Morgan-Taylor from the International Dark-Sky Association, and David Elvin QC. The venue, turnout, and audience response were terrific! Thanks to Landmark Chambers for organizing and hosting a great event. (Photo courtesy of Landmark Chambers)
Ian traveled to Washington, DC, to accept a 2011 Heinz Award alongside long-time collaborator Curt Ellis. The award recognized their humor-infused documentary films and innovative advocacy work around food, sustainability, and the environment. (Photo by proud dad Bryan Cheney)
THE CITY DARK's community and theatrical runs are going strong. Here's a shot of the quirky Colonial Theatre in Belfast, Maine, where THE CITY DARK got a warm welcome in November.
…And on that last note, we’re thrilled about THE CITY DARK’s San Francisco theatrical premiere this TUESDAY, December 6, at the San Francisco Film Society. Don’t miss it!
Audiences and hosts at the Port Townsend Film Festival a few weeks ago gave a warm welcome to screenings of TRUCK FARM and THE CITY DARK. A true highlight of the festival weekend was a visit from Truck Farm Seattle! Thanks to our farmers, Kathy and Todd, and their 1972 Ford for making the trip! (Check out more photos on our TRUCK FARM Facebook page.)
Ian with Seattle truck farmers Todd and Kathy at the Port Townsend Film Festival
TRUCK FARM and THE CITY DARK make another festival appearance in tandem this week at the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne, and today the Wicked Delicate team is thrilled to head to the United Arab Emirates to show THE CITY DARK at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
For other upcoming festival and theatrical screenings, check our Wicked Delicate screenings calendar–updated frequently!
Wednesday, September 14, at The French Culinary Institute in New York, Ian will moderate “In Defense of Corn,” part of Greenmarket’s fall series of Educated Eater panels. Speakers include Jessamyn Waldman of Hot Bread Kitche; Thor Oeschner of Farmer Ground Flour; and Gable Erenzo of Tuthilltown Spirits Distillers. A tasting of popcorn, corn whiskey, and corn-centric snacks will follow the discussion!
More info and tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/191873
Ian and WD producer Amanda recently spent a week on Doha, Qatar, to continue shooting on a project for the Qatar Foundation. The Foundation is the driving force behind Doha’s Education City, a complex of several international campuses for U.S. universities, including Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, and Northwestern.
Within Education City, the WD team interviews educators, engineers, architects, students, and site managers in documenting the construction of new Student Residence Halls aiming for a LEED platinum designation. As a resource-intensive, rapidly-developing region, the Gulf faces unique challenges in “green” building, sustainability, and environmental awareness — and unique opportunities to get them right from the start.
On site with Construction Manager Kostas Tetagiotis
Post-interview with Jamil Karam, Education City's Director of Student Life
This trip kicked off with a screening of THE CITY DARK that drew students, faculty, and staff from Education City and elsewhere in Doha. Chris Silva, Sustainability Education Coordinator for Education City, organized and introduced the screening — thanks, Chris! Given its rapid growth in less than a decade, and construction that carries on into each night, Doha provided a compelling context for a screening of THE CITY DARK, and a local review detailed some of the relevant development issues facing Qatar.
The WD team heads back to Doha for another shoot this winter. Stay tuned for updates on the greening of the Gulf!