Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Each Flavor is a Journey

Welcome to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m joined by the team behind “Each Flavor is a Journey” a documentary about Jewish Cooking in Berlin as told through the lens of food.  Thank  you all for joining us today!
So I guess I’ll start with the obvious, you had a grant to get the film shot, why do you need Kickstarter now?

I need it to get to the audience, to spread the message, which is the ultimate aim of a documentary. Film festivals require fees, posting costs, quality copies in different formats. I also need DVD copies and design for the cover. So after finishing a film there is a lot more to be done, if not it will end in my hard disk for ever. But the most important is that to reach theatrical screenings, distribute DVD copies or to be screened on TV we need to pay other  music royalties, which of course are more expensive than the ones for film festivals and educational purposes.

Can you give us a quick rundown of the documentary?  How did you ever get involved?  

It is a film about migration, memories and jewish cooking, set in Berlin. Jewish immigrants with different backgrounds, sharing their passion for food as part of their cultural identity. Those are topics that have always fascinated me, and there was this possibility of presenting a grant for creative projects of Jewish women living in Germany, so I decided to go for it... and got it!

So the plan is to take this film to festival, which ones?  

At the moment we submitted it to the Berlinale, but we will only know by the end of december if it was accepted. There are many other options of Jewish film festivals in Europe and the USA. There are also culinary film festivals. We are also  preparing a Spanish version, which open also our spectrum to the Latin American festivals, as I am  Chilean.

Now I will be honest and upfront when I say I’m not overly familiar with Jewish culture in general so film specific questions are a bit hard for me.  So I asked my Jewish consultant/co-worker Bobby Singer to weigh in here, Bobby the floor is yours.

Thank you James, so first off what is the difference between Berlin Jewish cooking and Ashkenazi Jewish cooking in general.

We did not focus on the Berliner Jewish cooking, as most of the characters have a migrant background. we balanced between the Ashkenazi and Sepharadic cooking, which gives a fantastic spectrum of flavours.

What is the difference between Berliner Jewish and Non Jewish cooking.

There is not such a thing as Berliner Jewish cooking, not even German jewish cooking. It very much depends on the migration background of the Jews currently living in Germany. You can say that observant jews eat no pork -which is not easy in Germany- and follow the other dietary rules; but secular jews not necessary respect this. There is clear influence of israeli food, such as humus, falafel, israeli salad , burekas and aubergines, so many jews tend to go shopping to the Turkish supermarkets.

Is there a difference between the Kosher community and the more reform community?

There is a vast diversity of observance within the Jewish population of Berlin, but lots of points of contact as well. I would not say that you can really divide the community in Kosher and non-kosher, it is much more complex than that.

Are ingredients harder to find for Jewish cooking?

There are several kosher shops, many kosher products in supermarkets and many Turkish and specialized groceries, so it is not so complicated really.

Many of the foods both Ashkenazi and Sepharadic have seasonings and flavors that are unusual to those not from those communities.  Do any of the folks you spoke to change the amount of those seasonings to adjust to non-Jewish tastes?  Like giving folks who aren’t used to spicy food you don’t give them full power curry for instance.  

Jewish cooking is quite diverse and regional, and not necessary spicy, although Jews are more likely to use spices than non Jews, because of ritual and trading reasons. But Jewish food is mainly an adaptation of the local cuisine to Jewish dietary laws, so at the end in terms of taste is quite similar to the food of each region. For example, in Eastern Europe pork fillings were replaced with white cheese, potatoes or chicken; and in Spain instead of using pork fat, they fried with olive oil.

Thank you Bobby for giving us those insightful questions.

You’re quite welcome James.

How hard is it to “sell” a documentary through Kickstarter?  It’s not an pure entertainment like a work of fiction is, nor is it interactive like a video game, or even produces a tangible object like a technology Kickstarter so how do you get your project across to prospective backers?

It has been kind of hard, specially because a lot of people who want to collaborate are not familiarised with the site and system. It is not that simple to know that you have to click at “back this project” to give money. People look for a “donate now” button or so. It is also difficult to get to a broader audience and explain them why it is important to “join or movement” and show the world that in a way the evil nazis didn't win and that there is still a vibrant jewish life in Berlin. I think that is the crucial message to be spread. And the personal stories are also very moving.

What are you doing to get the word out about your project?  Twitter?  Facebook?  Google+?  Youtube? Are you using Kicktraq?  Are you buying any outside advertising?  
How hard has it been to gain any media interest in your project?

We just started a FB page and a FB group, and we will start some twittering via @funkproductions We have not tried a press campaign yet, as we want to have clear the date for a premier first, and that the depends on the acceptance to the film festivals. So we are taking it step by step. The trailer is in Vimeo and youtube at the funkproductions channels.

An evolving and backer responsive campaign tends to do the best, what are you planning to do to keep the enthusiasm level up for your campaign?  Do you have a plan for more updates?  Production photos?  

We are permanently posting in FB updates of the campaign, new messages, and also contacting some key people via e-mail, with a personal pledge. We are also posting the link to the kickstarter in key FB groups,as israelis in Berlin, for example.

How can folks who are interested get involved or support your project besides just donating funds?

They can like and follow our FB page, share it with their friends and give some comments. All this will contribute to spread the word and  hopefully make it viral

What tips and words of advice/warning can you give others who are thinking of using Kickstarter for their film projects?  

To think carefully about the motivations that other would have to support your project. I think that is the hardest of all. It is also good not to rely 100% in crowd funding to make it happen.

It has been a pleasure speaking with you today Daniella , I thank you for your time and hard work.   Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers?

Just to encourage them to support our project, not just because it is a nice film, because it is a message of peace and hope, and they can be part of that spirit. It would be wonderful to be able to reach the US audience in film festival and eventually making DVD copies available. I would like to move on from the stigma that jewish life in Germany is all about the Holocaust, life has flourished again, and that is the beauty of it.

Thanks again for your time, I look forward to seeing the final product.  

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