The Asian American International Film Fest is serving up a good portion of Filipino films this year.
Among them is Ulam: Main Dish.
This year’s closing night presentation, Ulam documents the rise of Filipino food in America.
Fil-Am filmmaker Alexandra Cuerdo followed the trailblazers of the Filipino food movement, and how each of these Filipino food restaurateurs help push forward the Filipino food movement.
“I wanted to make the film so that young Filipino American kids could watch the film and see themselves, and see these amazing role models, for me, it’s really all about these chefs,” said Alexandra Cuerdo. “People are catching on for something we’ve known all our lives — it’s true that Lola’s cooking is the best cooking, but now I want everyone to know about it.”
While Filipino food has been around the US for decades – non-Filipinos caught on after mainstream food critics and TV hosts — including Anthony Bourdain and Jonathan Gold — took notice of the unique flavors of the Philippines.
“What Bourdain did for the Philippines is really beautiful, because he approached it with a lot of respect… same thing with the late Jonathan Gold. The fact that he believed before anyone else that Filipino food could really cross over that meant a lot.”
Ulam is AAIFF’s closing night presentation at the Asia Society in New York City.
Also screening on Sunday is Cinematografo’s dark comedy called Bittermelon.
“It’s a story of a dysfunctional Filipino-American family who reunites on Christmas day – only to find out that the second eldest child has been ruling their childhood home with fear and violence.”
What was supposed to be a fun holiday reunion turns into this dark but comedic crime scene as the family conspires on how to best murder the violent abusive son.
Bittermelon has been garnering rave reviews from mainstream critics and enthusiastic audience reception.
As the festival comes to a close on Sunday, a special reception will be held after the screening at the Asia Society.
Six Filipino restaurants will serve up a taste of the Philippines to satisfy those salivating for Filipino food after watching the Ulam documentary.