Now, Forager, retrata a história fictícia de um casal de colectores que apanha cogumelos e que depois os vende a restaurantes nova-iorquinos.
Tomei conhecimento deste projecto através do Kickstarter e gostei da ideia.
Falei com Jason Cortlund (realizador/protagonista) acerca do filme e ele respondeu a estas perguntas:
Can you tell us about your movie?
Now, Forager is a fictional, feature-length film about a Basque-American husband and wife who hunt for wild mushrooms and then sell them to New York restaurants. The story follows them as they struggle to earn a living over three seasons (fall, winter, and spring). I (Jason Cortlund) wrote the script and co-directed the film with my longtime collaborator Julia Halperin.
Because a film set in the world of mushrooms really hasn’t really been done before. We explore not only the visual beauty of fungi, but also some of their unique biological properties. And, of course, also their culinary value. It’s such a rich, vibrant universe—it deserves to be seen on the big screen.
I grew up hunting, fishing, and foraging with my family. My grandfather even survived a mushroom poisoning before I was born. Growing, gathering, and preparing food is a primal activity that gives me a great deal of pleasure. It seemed only natural to use some these experiences for one of our films.
When we joined the New York Mycological Society to learn more about the specific species of mushrooms around New York, we soon found much more than a resource for knowledge. We found a community of artists and intellectuals whose communal knowledge of mycology was truly stunning. The club has become a sort of second family for me. I currently serve as the editor of their quarterly newsletter publication as well.
What was your main motivation?
When Julia and I first started thinking about this project back in 2005, we talked a lot about “food movies”. These films are mostly romantic stories where food is a metaphor for something else—love, family, nurturing, connection, etc. And the action is more about eating than it is about cooking. We wanted to make something very different.
As someone who comes from more of a working class background, the stories I write often deal with work. Julia and I have both had restaurant jobs. I’ve also been a caterer, worked for a brewery, and been a farm laborer in the past. So our motivation was to think about everything that has to happen before a dinner is served at a restaurant. That would be our world. Those people would be our characters. And the struggles of their lives would form our story.
What have you accomplished to date?
At the end of the day, I think what we’ve accomplished is that we’ve made the first narrative feature film for the Slow Food generation.
I wrote a first draft of the script in 2006 at an artist residency. The screenplay went through several rewrites. We started preproduction in September 2009—casting, assembling a crew, rehearsals, budgeting, and more rewrites. Production happened in three seasonal phases between May and December 2010. For the last year, we’ve been editing. We’re on schedule to finish post-production in January 2012.
So far, we’ve had a great deal of interest in the film from people in mushroom clubs, from chefs who use foraged ingredients, from food writers and bloggers, and from film festivals and distributors around the world who are tracking our progress. In November, we’ll be screening a work-in-progress cut in Poland as one of seven independent US films selected by the Gotham In Progress showcase for European distributors.
We’ve also run very successful fundraising campaigns via Kickstarter and most recently with United States Artists, where we qualified for matching grants from the Austin Film Fund and Artists 2 Artists. It can be difficult in the US to raise money for movies that don’t star famous actors, so we’re very thankful for all the private donations we’ve received to help make Now, Forager happen.
What are you wanting to achieve with a film about mushrooms?
The amazing thing about mushrooms is that once you’re aware of them, you start to see them everywhere. What I hope is that after watching our film, people will open their eyes to all the fungi that grow around them in their daily lives. And then I hope they’ll want to learn more—and maybe join their local mycological society.
What’s your favorite mushroom and recipe?
It’s hard to pick just one favorite mushroom—I love them all. But there is a dish mentioned in the film that I invented—Black and Blue Risotto. I make this in the fall with fresh blewits (Clitocybe nuda) and dried black trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides, C. fallax, C. foetidus, etc.).
- 5 cups/1250mL stock or broth (chicken, vegetable, mushroom)
- 1½ cups/285g Arborio rice
- 6Tb/90g unsalted butter
- 2Tb/30mL olive oil
- 2 cups/300g blewits (Clitocybe nuda), sliced
- 1 cup/150g dried black trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides), soaked and minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- dry white wine (or a dry sherry/Madeira)
- 1 bay leaf
- Fresh parsley, minced
- ½ cup/50g grated hard cheese (like Pecorino Romano)
Heat the stock or broth in a pot on medium-high; keep it at a simmer.
Heat a large chef’s pan or pot on medium-high. Add half of the butter and oil to the heated pan. Once the butter has melted and bubbled, add the sliced blewits. Once they start to brown, add a pinch of salt and stir. After 5 minutes or so, add the shallots and black trumpets. Sauteé 2-3 more minutes. Add a splash of white wine. When the liquid has evaporated, remove mushrooms from pan and set them aside.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the rest of the butter and oil to the same pan. When melted, add the Arborio rice and stir, coating all the grains with the butter/oil. Continue stirring until the grains are semi-transparent—about 2 minutes. Add the bay leaf and a pinch of salt.
Add a ladle of the hot stock to the rice (about ½ cup or 120mL). Stir the rice continuously until most of the stock is absorbed. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked al dente—soft but still firm. The risotto should have a creamy consistency at this point.
Remove the bay leaf. Add the cooked mushrooms to the rice and stir to incorporate. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the grated cheese.
Spoon into bowls to serve. Garnish with minced parsley (or other fresh herbs), freshly ground black pepper, and more grated cheese if you like.
Thanks Jason and best regards.