The revolution may or may not be televised, but it will certainly be filmed, especially when veteran broadcast journalist Patricia Nazario is running the show, and when the revolution in question is the new wave of food trucks. Masa Revolution is the name of both a website and an in-progress bilingual documentary feature film about how food trucks revolutionized street food in Los Angeles and the rest of the country. Nazario, who left her job in public radio to work full-time on the project, says that the documentary will focus on Los Angeles as a "lense" through which to view the economic, social and political aspects of street food.
"I wanted to take a step back and see what led to the culture boom," said Nazario by phone recently. "L.A. is a laboratory. A lot of other cities are watching how we do this."
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The film profiles two trucks, the new Grill 'Em All truck (winner of Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race) and Jesus Estrada's Las Banquitas truck, which he's been operating in Lincoln Heights for the last 25 years. The Kogi truck plays a pivotal role in the story, of course, and the film also pays homage to the loncheros who were around long before Roy Choi changed the game.
Nazario says the film will also be an investigative piece which will examine, among other issues, the recurrent food truck conflict along L.A.'s Miracle Mile. "We go undercover," she says, with a fraud investigator and another private investigator.
"Cities are hurting," says Nazario of the current economic climate, "and they see how this [food trucks] could benefit." Nazario wanted to document how the current food truck phenomenon is playing out here in Los Angeles ("as a journalist, I wanted to add a narrative") and then, after the release of the film, to set up young journalists to chronicle how the story continues to play out in their own cities. "We don't use the term lightly," said Nazario of the "revolution" in the project's title.