BBQ Film Documentary
Saw this is the local Winston-Salem Journal and thought it sounded like a film for Roadfooders.
Barbecue Is A Noun
When Hawes Bostic and Austin McKenna set out to make their first film, Barbecue Is a Noun, they knew the kind of documentary they wanted to make long before they chose their subject.
"We wanted it to be about a cultural subject that people were very animated about," Bostic said in a recent telephone interview.
Bostic grew up in Roseboro and Charlotte, and McKenna grew up in Clemmons. They now room together in Brooklyn and work in New York, Bostic as a Wall Street analyst and McKenna as a Madison Avenue ad man. But not long after they met and became friends at the University of Virginia in the 1990s, they were thinking about making a film.
With North Carolina upbringings and presumably a fair amount of pork under their belts, it's no surprise that these two thirtysomething filmmakers ended up with a film about barbecue.
Barbecue Is a Noun will have its North Carolina premiere Thursday at the RiverRun International Film Festival downtown. The documentary profiles several pit masters from North Carolina and South Carolina, with plenty of "glamour shots" of hogs slow-cooking over smoking coals of hickory wood.
Hours over the fire
"We're not talking about barbecuing, but barbecue. This isn't grilling," Bostic said in reference to the title.
And though the film has plenty of talk about pork, wood and sauce, the people who spend countless hours slaving over the fire are the film's stars.
There's James Green, a Vietnam vet who served time in prison for cocaine trafficking and seemed to be in and out of trouble until he opened a barbecue joint in Columbia, S.C.
There's Paul Long, a government auditor in Buies Creek, who gambles thousands of dollars on a music and barbecue festival that he hopes will launch his career as a full-time professional pit master.
There's Henry Smith in Hopkins, who's still cooking barbecue at age 80. "My wife said she's going to get rid of me 'cause I love barbecue more than I love her," Hopkins says, though he's presumably exaggerating a bit. "It's just like a fellow taking to drink; that's how it is with me cooking barbecue."
"These are guys who really believe in something," Bostic said. "Their barbecue not only represents something that tastes really great, but also represents themselves."
Barbecue Is a Noun was first shown at the Rome International Film Festival in Rome, Ga. When it won an audience award there, Bostic said, he and McKenna knew they had generally achieved their goals with the film.
"We just wanted to make something that people connect with," Bostic said. "There were 45 people at this screening, and they were all laughing in the right places."
Barbecue Is a Noun will be shown at 6 p.m. Friday at The Garage and 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Main Theatre at N.C. School of the Arts. Tickets are $6.
And for hamburger fans ...
Food lovers also may be interested in another documentary at RiverRun. George Motz's Hamburger America profiles eight of this country's distinct outlets for the beloved burger.
The list, which doesn't include a single franchise, serves up such unusual burgers as the green-chile cheeseburger at the Bobcat Bite in Sante Fe., N.M.; the goober (peanut-butter) burger at the Wheel Inn Drive In in Sedalia, Mo.; and the steamed burgers at Ted's in Meriden, Conn. This ode to an American favorite is partly about tradition: family businesses that have perfected a product and stuck with it through thick and thin, and have been rewarded by loyal customers.
Hamburger America will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Garage, and at 4 p.m. Saturday at The Garage. Tickets are $6.
For ticket information, call 721-1945.