If there's anything to be drawn from the box office successes of “Food Inc.,” and “Julie & Julia,” two of the bigger food films to be released this summer, it's that films about food or even those with food-related themes have grown progressively more popular, garnering more attention from the general public this year than they had even five years ago. Whether or not this is because food has become, as Michael Pollan suggests, a spectator sport, the consciousness that one gains from sheer exposure to a film like “Food Inc.” can be long-lasting. Recognition of the obvious benefits of the film medium has prompted the founding of the Slow Food on Film festival in Bolognia, Italy and five smaller annual festivals around the world dedicated to promoting a “critical awareness of food culture” through film.

Right now, tickets for the third annual Modesto Reel Food Film Festival, the only food film festival in California, are now on sale, offering the rare opportunity to premiere screenings of a few new food films and award-winning other films. The State Theater will roll out the red carpet on Sunday, September 27, to spotlight select short films (under 45 minutes) focused on food-related themes. This year's shorts include documentaries about honeybee conservation, the anti-consumerist freegan movement, and a “stalk-umentary” about asparagus, to name a few.

And because a food film festival without food would be odd and almost inappropriate, there is also a reception, the price of admission for which is included in the festival $10 entrance fee. You can purchase tickets by calling (209) 527-4697, by visiting The State Theatre box office Monday through Friday between noon and 3:00pm, on The State Theatre's website, or at the festival.

The Modesto Reel Food Film Festival: Sunday, September 27, 2009, 2 PM. State Theatre 1307 J Street, Modesto. For a complete list of films to be screened, plus a short synopsis of each, check their website.

LA Weekly