Antonio Roman-Alcala is a man In Search of Good Food. The young San Franciscan begins at home and brings his audience with him on a statewide journey to understand how to make it easier for Californians to obtain good food.
Roman-Alcala blends informal street interviews with conversations with experts on the state’s agriculture and its history. He visits the troubled central valley where farm workers’ water has been contaminated by pesticides. We learn that the best water in the valley goes to specialty crops, not to the humans who farm them. Near the Oregon border, we spend time with Ron Reed of the Kuruk tribe, who reminds us that “the Native Americans in the nation understand resources like no other. That’s what our ceremonies dictate.”
As we journey with Roman-Alcala around the state, we begin to see clearly how personal the political can get, and to what extent corporatism has affected the health of Californians and their agricultural lands. His visit to an organic farm offers a sharp contrast to the devastation he’s witnessed on his journey.
Despite the heaviness of the topic, Roman-Alcala maintains a light-hearted tone throughout the film. A perfect blend of sweetness and savvy, he is endearing as narrator, ingenious as director. He’s condensed his quest into an engaging, far-ranging hour that left me with a better understanding of why Californians eat the food they do.
Nevada City’s own Amigo Bob Contisano is one of the experts featured in In Search of Good Food, and previous festival-goers will be delighted with a cameo by Jules Dervaes. The world premier of In Search of Good Food will be Saturday morning, January 15, at The Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival in Nevada City. Antonio Roman-Alcala will be on hand, as will the film’s three producers: Jesse Sabin, Sam Franzen, and Nora Roman.