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Fairfield Theatre Co. to present 'Soul Food Junkies'

Published 6:24 pm, Thursday, January 24, 2013
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The Fairfield Theatre Company, in partnership with ITVS Community Cinema, a free monthly screening series showcasing the PBS series "Independent Lens," will present "Soul Food Junkies" on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. at StageOne, 70 Sanford St.

The six-part series will consist of one-hour screenings of films scheduled for upcoming broadcast on "Independent Lens" that feature "cutting-edge content on important social issues," according to a news release.

They will be followed by a panel discussion with local experts, community leaders and organizations familiar with issues covered in the films.

In "Soul Food Junkies," filmmaker Byron Hurt sets out on a historical and culinary journey to learn about the soul food tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity.

Hurt's exploration was inspired by his father's lifelong love affair with the high-fat, calorie-rich traditional soul food diet and his unwillingness to give it up, even in the face of a life-threatening health crisis.

Hurt discovers that the relationship between African-Americans and culinary dishes like ribs, grits, and fried chicken is culturally based, deep-rooted, complex, and often deadly.

The film examines the culinary tradition's positive and negative consequences through interviews with soul food cooks, historians and scholars, as well as with doctors, family members and everyday people.

In the film, Hurt also explores the socioeconomic conditions in predominantly black neighborhoods, where it can be difficult to find healthy options, and meets some pioneers in the emerging food justice movement who are challenging the food industry.

These leaders are encouraging communities to "go back to the land" by creating sustainable and eco-friendly gardens, advocating for healthier options in local supermarkets, supporting local farmers' markets, avoiding highly processed fast foods, and cooking healthier versions of traditional soul food, the release states.

Panelists slated to speak after the film include:

Michel Nischan, chef, restaurant owner and CEO and president of the Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit foundation that supports increased production and access to healthy, fresh and affordable locally grown food;

Mona Jackson, executive chef and CEO of Cook and Grow, a Bridgeport-based nonprofit that teaches youth how to make better choices about food and maintain healthy eating habits;

Marilyn Moore, executive director of the Witness Project, a Bridgeport-based nonprofit that provides culturally and age-appropriate breast and cervical cancer education to women in need while focusing on importance of healthy diets and exercise;

Gloria Garcia, owner of Miss Thelma's Restaurant, a soul food restaurant in Bridgeport.

To reserve a seat or for information, call 203-259-1036 or visit www.fairfieldtheatre.org.