“Love Language of Food”: Student Film Project Spotlights Cuisine as Common Denominator Across Cultures, Continents

05/24/2022 – 09:35am | By: David Tisdale

USM Media and Entertainment Arts (MEA) students in the School of Communication spent the last year in a collaboration with students at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, for their production of the short film “The Food That Binds: Building Cultural Relationships Across the Table” focusing on how the preparation and enjoyment of food can be the common denominators that bridges multiple differences between people around the world.

USM Media and Leisure Arts (MEA) students in the University of Conversation used
the very last year in a collaboration with college students at Thammasat University in Bangkok,
Thailand, for their production of the quick film “The Foods That Binds: Setting up Cultural
Associations Across the Table” focusing on how the preparing and enjoyment of food stuff
can be the prevalent denominators that bridge discrepancies among folks about the earth.

Variations in language, culture, political and spiritual beliefs could current limitations
to setting up associations amongst, say, a Hattiesburg resident and a citizen of
Bangkok, Thailand.

But a brief documentary developed by pupils in The College of Southern Mississippi
(USM) University of Communications’ Media and Leisure Arts (MEA) program, in collaboration
with counterparts at a university in Thailand, intends to show its audiences that
irrespective of the variances between men and women about the earth, coming alongside one another around a delectable
food can bridge all those chasms.

The “Breaking Bread Film Undertaking,” a collaboration involving Breakthrough Now Media
and The Innovation Station at the U.S. Department of Point out, brings film and media
creators from international and U.S. Gulf Coastline areas to do the job on new short-type
content influenced by their shared activities and concepts. By means of this collaborative,
creators from five U.S. states and five nations are paired and tasked with conceptualizing
and building a short movie or other job addressing the intersection between foods
insecurity, traditions, and innovation. The plan culminates in a showcase of the
collaborative jobs.

Mississippi/USM is partnered with Thammasat College in Bangkok, Thailand, for their
generation “The Food items That Binds: Setting up Cultural Interactions Throughout the Table”
to be screened in July at the Capital Screening Series in Washington, D.C., at the
United Nations, and at consulates and husband or wife stakeholders in the U.S. and in the
associate Asian country’s university and consulates. It will also be screened at the
Catalyst Competition in Duluth, Minnesota in September.

Representatives of Breaking Bread related with Dr. Mary Lou Sheffer, professor in
the USM Faculty of Conversation and senior college member in its MEA software, about
participation from her pupils for the task. They consist of Zack Eddy of Petal,
Mississippi Mia Slone of Alexandria, Virginia Eli Goff of Gautier, Mississippi
and Alisia Powell of Picayune, Mississippi.

With advisement from Dr. Sheffer and her MEA school colleague Jared Hollingsworth,
these learners focused their investigate on the communal factor of meals, inspecting the
dynamics of preparing and conversation at mealtime via the input of restauranters,
cooks and other culinary experts, as well as ‘foodies’ from across the Magnolia Point out
who really like sharing meals with spouse and children, good friends, and even strangers.

Eddy observed how the two cultures use a lot of of the same staple foods – rice, fish, and a
assortment of veggies, as illustrations – in producing time-honored recipes, applying unique
types of seasoning and planning styles, in the farm-to-kitchen-to-desk course of action
exclusive to the communities profiled in the documentary.

“What we want to display with this film is the commonality between men and women, exposed through
the enjoyment of planning and having mouth watering foods, no subject in which they are prepared
or with whom they are shared with,” he claimed.

Goff said he didn’t assume the venture to be as expansive as he initially assumed.
“I’m more of an ‘eat-to-live’ form of man or woman as opposed to the ‘live-to-eat’ individuals
who are passionate about food in methods I couldn’t recognize,” he ongoing. “It wasn’t
until we started out really listening to other people’s perspectives on food items tradition –
in Mississippi as effectively as other spots in the world – that I understood food stuff performs a
considerable function in not only people’s own life, but in making group as
nicely. In actuality, it’s made me realize my very own family extra, as I assume back again to all
the instances my family members would appear with each other and bond above cooking.”

He explained this thought was cemented in his thoughts as the staff reached out to neighborhood cooks
and cafe owners and saw how energized they have been to inform them about what they cook dinner
and why it issues to them.

“Cooking is not only an exercise to bond above, but it is the basis for building interactions
in Mississippi as nicely as Thailand,” Goff ongoing. “We all have to take in. Why not
do it alongside one another?”

Slone concurred. “When you sit down at the table for a food, you appear to see that
you’re not as diverse from folks from other cultures, other areas, as you feel,”
she claimed. “It displays we’re extra alike than not.

“You put some very good food stuff in entrance of me at the table with other people, and I can be
pals with anybody.”

For Powell, the venture underscored for her what she already comprehended about how
legitimate this dynamic is in her native South. “Being ‘Southern’ signifies near bonds, and
when we get together for a food, it doesn’t subject about race, ethnicity, gender,
or politics, due to the fact we’re all relatives in the stop.” 

Teamwork and persistence have been worthwhile features exercised by the workforce in performing with
yet another team of learners at one more college halfway all-around the entire world, only a couple
of whom can talk English. “It’s been a understanding working experience for all of us,” Dr. Sheffer
even further famous.

Dr. Edgar Simpson, director of the USM School of Interaction, praised Dr. Sheffer
for facilitating a undertaking for her learners with this sort of prominence in profile and access.

“Our college are usually seeking chances to give our learners with new and
exclusive possibilities,” Dr. Simpson ongoing. “This undertaking is an instance of how technological know-how,
such as sound and video clip, transcends regular boundaries.”

Goff hopes when audiences see the team’s documentary, they arrive to have an understanding of foodstuff
is “a enjoy language spanning culture.”

“Even however Mississippi and Thailand are worlds away from each individual other, and no subject
how various persons appear close to the globe, everybody will come alongside one another when they are consuming,”
he reported.

For facts about the USM University of Interaction, pay a visit to https://www.usm.edu/conversation/index.php.

Rebecca R. Ammons

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