The fast pace and high demand of professional kitchens can be a pressure cooker of drama and passion.
A feature-length documentary set to screen Friday, captures the trials of a group of young aspiring chefs during a nine-month internship at Mugaritz, a world-renowned restaurant located outside San Sebastian, Spain.
As cameras roll, tempers and passions flare in an intense culinary environment under the leadership of Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, who has appeared as a judge on Netflix’s own culinary docu-series "Chef’s Table."
"Stage: The Culinary Internship" is set for a worldwide screening Friday at noon in partnership with virtual screenings across the country, and here locally supporting Montage Cinemas, an independent movie house and pop-up experience.
Director Abby Ainsworth says she spent nearly five years making the documentary, her first feature length film, which she describes as a "wonderful, stressful, emotional and intimidating" undertaking.
"Throughout the course of filming there were many highs and many lows but the experience has been invaluable and I am looking forward to bringing the knowledge I gained to my next film," Ainsworth shared.
The documentary follows the group of chefs in training as they undertake a coveted internship in the twice Michelin-starred restaurant.
Long revered and respected for its avant-garde and highly technical cuisine, Mugaritz is revered the world over as bastion of culinary perfection. As emotions rise, the young chefs must push themselves to rise to the level of excellence expected by Chef Aduriz.
Ainsworth says the film highlights the dedication to excellence seen inside the kitchens at the greatest restaurants in the world, and the creative fortitude required to not only make there, but thrive.
"I want audiences to take away feelings of passion and perseverance. The idea of being so dedicated to one's craft and doing whatever it takes to be the best," Ainsworth shared.
Though many cinemas across the country remained shuttered due to the coronavirus, Ainsworth and her team looked for new ways to bring the movie experience to viewers.
The movie screening is one of many rolling out in Savannah through Montage Cinemas, which has pivoted to continue screening during the pandemic shutdown, embracing new and creative ways to share high-quality films.
"It’s definitely a new challenge, but it’s also been inspiring to see the cinema community come together and offer virtual screenings for their audiences," said Daniel Cantagallo, Senior Vice President of Cargo Film & Releasing.
"We’ve been fortunate to team up with some amazing movie theaters across the country. In addition, we’ve partnered with some restaurants who’ve been hit hard by the pandemic, so we can support the restaurant industry and restaurant workers through ticket sales," he said.
By purchasing a ticket to the virtual screening, movie fans and culinary enthusiasts will help support the cinemas and restaurants they love, supporting businesses most hard hit during the unprecedented economic downturn. Online tickets are available May 29 through Montage Cinemas and the documentary’s official website.