Eating During a Film Festival

It’s important to have a proper and nutritious meal for lunch and dinner everyday regardless of what you do. But when you’re potentially on your feet for up to 12 hours a day for a week with so many things to do and many places to run to on a back and forth basis, like we do during a film festival, it’s hard to get a bite, let alone something healthy.

This does not constitute a proper meal

This is my third year with Reel Asian and as always, meal times are some of the busiest times of day for myself and many other staff members. During lunch, I’m always in the middle of helping run an industry session and during dinner, many other staff members are coordinating the craziness at the box office and front of house.  So when do we get the time to eat?

The answer is…we don’t.  But we still need to eat regardless.  Many times we don’t get the chance to sit down and have a proper first full meal until late in the night.  I’ve often been busy from morning til late afternoon/early evening, skipping lunch altogether.  We’re taught from a young age that eating properly is vital to our daily function so in a crazy high pressure environment like a film festival, we have to make sure we eat properly.  And no, eating a whole plate of spring rolls, as tempting as it may be, is not eating properly, nor is wolfing down meal after meal of street meat from the corner.  Before leaving the house for the day, a simple bowl of cereal can be the thing that saves you from a whole day of starvation.  Seriously, you just pour and eat.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

If you cannot step away from your post for long periods of time, snacks are key!  By snacks, I don’t mean bag after bag of potato chips and cookies.  Having a pack of veggies can be the best thing you do for your body.  But if you’re like me, you may need something more filling.  A chocolate chip granola bar does wonders in a situation where all you want is to munch on something without filling yourself up.  A small sandwich with simple ingredients like ham, cheese and a slice or two of veggies that you can keep in your bag goes a long way too.  It’s light enough to have in between breaks that won’t make you feel like you have rocks in your stomach.  If you want to make it more filling, put it on a bagel.  Unlike past years where I ended up eating nothing but spring rolls and other deep fried deliciousness, this year I had a nice great helping of veggies that kept me from feeling gross.  I also made sure I knew of some key places either around me or on my route from location A to B that I can grab a quick bite if need be in case I wasn’t able to pack something the night before.  Don’t get me wrong, I still munched on spring rolls but moderation helps to keep you from feeling sick after day 5.

It also helps if you have a buddy to either remind you to eat or go eat with you.  Let’s face it, eating is more enjoyable when you have someone to do it with.  Who wants to sit all by themselves munching on something alone in a restaurant?  Having someone to accompany you will also make it less tempting for you to consider skipping a meal.  But if you really can’t leave, perhaps that friend can be super nice and get the food for you and vice versa if one of you have some time.  Barnett had to run the closing night gala party this year, with all the preparations happening around dinner time so that the party can get started when the closing film ends.  Just look at how happy Barnett is when someone as nice as Gina feeds him some food.

But in addition to eating, staying hydrated is really important.  Theatres can have really dry air or they have small spaces with many people crammed into them, forcing the heat level to go up and requiring you to drink more water than usual.  And when I say drink, I mean water.  It may be tempting to constantly have pop and coffee all the time but it does nothing to hydrate you.  Bring a reusable water bottle with you as most theatres can fill it up easily.