Bryan Sebok, the director and writer of “Food Truck: The Movie,” himself refers to the film as; “the definitive film about food trucks.” We know Bryan is quite proud of the film, but his assessment is accurate. The film covers “the history, the significance, the people, why we should care, its impact on communities and economies.”
Three years of effort have gone into creating a film that shows the street food industry as more than a passing fad or even a regional curiosity. This journey on film has given Bryan a unique perspective on what are known as (depending on where you’re located at the time), food trucks, food carts, or food trailers. Regardless of the local colloquialisms for the vending vehicles, street food is a world-wide phenomenon.
The film was first imagined as Bryan eating at a different food cart around Portland each day for an entire year. Not long after the project began production Bryan realized that the original concept would not do justice to all the people who make street food possible. So while he still ate at over 400 food carts/trucks around the country, Brian switched gears and began to interview food cart/truck owners. Over 200 by the time filming finished.
And not just food cart/truck owners. Soon the interviews included those who manufacture and outfit street food vehicles (trucks and trailers), those who design the mobile kitchens, urban planners, sociologists, anthropologists, and many more people who you might not realize are involved in the industry.
As “Food Truck: The Movie,” has its origin in Portland, many of those interviewed are from the PDX collective of street food vendors. Koi Fusion’s Bo Kwan, Nong of Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Ramy Armans of Ramy’s Lamb Shack, Ed Sablan of PDX Six Seven One, Charlene Wesler of Gaufre Gourmet and GiGi’s Cafe, are just a few of the street food vendors who appear in the film.
Why the street food community is important to the local economy and the its impact thereon is one on the major through lines of the film. Beyond just making great food, food carts/trucks create jobs, give entrepreneurs the base for building their own business, encourage tourism, and give back to their communities in ways both immediate as well as in ways that are not so obvious from a cursory examination.
In the same way that most food carts/trucks are bootstrap operations, “Food Truck: The Movie” is not only a labor of passion but a bootstrap operation as well. Bryan is a professor at Lewis and Clark College, who have supported this project throughout, but costs for distribution and travel to film festivals has come from Bryan and private contributors. The film will have its premiere July 2016 at the Madrid International Film Festival. The cost of getting to Madrid will come from the filmmakers themselves.
The epicenter of the food cart/truck world is Portland, Oregon, a point which Bryan makes in “Food Truck: The Movie.” As Bryan says; “We are honored to tell the broader, global mobile food story through the food carts in Portland.”
Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk with Bryan Sebok, director of the film about Portland food carts, “Food Truck: The Movie.”