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We know foraging is hot. Trudging through the woods in search of wild edibles made all kinds of 2012 food trend lists. It’s gotten the slideshow treatment in the style section of Details magazine, and last summer, the rising popularity of urban foraging prompted New York City to ban the practice in city parks.

Now, for the first time that we’re aware of, foraging is the subject of a feature film – ‘Now, Forager.’

According to the press release, the narrative:

“…follows the story of Lucien and Regina, foragers who gather wild mushrooms in the woodlands of New Jersey and sell them to restaurants in New York City. Their lifestyle is simple, their income unstable. To improve the financial security and to follow a more fulfilling personal career path, Regina decides to take a job cooking at a high-end restaurant. Lucien disapproves and instead, he proposes to give up their apartment and live as full-time itinerant foragers. As individual desires take them down divergent paths over the course of a year, their marriage comes apart.”

In their Director’s Statement, filmmakers Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin say:

“Now, Forager started from a discussion several years ago regarding the nature of the “food movie”. As people who are very serious about both cooking and cinema, we found it odd that we didn’t really like many of the films within the genre.

For our tastes, these films are ridiculously romantic. They rely on broad metaphors and cultural stereotypes. Worst of all, the cooking is often technically inaccurate.

Based on our interests and experiences, we decided to make a narrative film where the food and cooking was real—a film that honored the lessons of our grandparents, but one that could also appeal to the rapidly expanding Slow Food generation.

The ability to successfully find food for oneself in the wild awakens an intense primal pleasure. The specific context of collecting wild mush­rooms offered us some very unique cinematic and dramatic opportunities from which to build a story.

In a grocery store, mushrooms are mundane. But in the woods, the Kingdom of Fungi is incredibly diverse, colorful, and mysterious. The golden morels of early spring inspire culinary reveries, while the ghost-white Amanita species known as The Destroying Angel evokes equal measures of mortal terror. We were pleased to be able to capture these and many more species of mushrooms growing in the wild during our production.

While fungi are a key inspiration and structuring element within the film, the substance of the story is human. Now, Forager is about a relation­ship—one that is changing because of the individual needs of the participants. It’s a story about mature love—about the compromises and conflicts that can only come from years spent living in close quarters.

We shot the film over the course of a year to capture seasonal changes in the natural world that have an impact on the couple’s life. We in­tended for Now, Forager to show food, work, and love in an authentic way, with honesty and passion.”

The film is getting its world premiere at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam this week, but it’s sure to be gracing a screen somewhere in Brooklyn soon.

 

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