Press Release

Pace Documentary Wins Best Student Short at Williamsburg International Film and Music Competition

September 29, 2023

Marks Second Consecutive Year That Pace Wins Top Honors in Category

Williamsburg International Film and Music Competition logo

Pace University’s documentary "For the Love of Food: Pour l’amour de la Cuisine" recently won best student documentary at the Williamsburg International Film and Music Competition, marking the second consecutive year that the program won the top honors in this category.

The documentary -- produced by Professor Maria Luskay, EdD, Professor Lou Guarneri, MFA, and Pace University’s documentary film team -- focuses on the slow food movement, which began in Europe during the 1980s to preserve the culture of eating locally and combating the popularization of fast food.

It was filmed on location in France and in the Hudson Valley; it premiered online in France and to a full theater at the Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, New York, in May 2023.

“It was exciting that our film and this program are being consistently recognized within the film industry,” said Professor Luskay. “Our team put in the time and energy to produce a great documentary, and in the process, we shared a once-in-a-lifetime experience that proved to be as fulfilling as it was educational in that we learned the importance of where our food comes from as well as what it takes to complete a professional quality film on a tight deadline.”

During 14 weeks of production that included filming across France and New York, PaceDocs filmmakers spoke with farmers, chefs, and restaurateurs who have dedicated their lives to making slow food a reality in a fast-paced world.

Pace University student filming chefs in a kitchen
Elizabeth Bardon, left, and members of the PaceDocs crew during filming of their latest film on location in France.

This film explores the guiding principles of good, clean, and fair – and why that is a healthy recipe for a sustainable future. While eating farm-to-table has become a global phenomenon, nowhere is this passion for clean eating more apparent than in France where generations have relied on locally grown foods. From family-owned farms and markets in the Laon and Lorraine countryside, to beautiful restaurants in the heart of Paris, all the way back to a farm-to-fork eatery in Westchester, New York, this documentary explores the environmental and health benefits of eating clean, locally grown goods, the value of family traditions, embracing culture and heritage through cooking, and of course, the love of food.

The documentary is the focus of the popular class, “Producing the Documentary,” which is part of the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace University’s highly regarded film program that requires students complete a full-length environmentally themed documentary within one semester.

Students in the class are a mix of graduate and undergraduate with varying academic focuses, experience, and skillsets. They come together as a film crew and learn all aspects of filming and production. During the process, they learn teamwork, problem-solving, research, and organization, along with technical skills such as lighting, sound, camera work, interviewing, and other real-life lessons necessary to complete a film.

In 2022, the PaceDocs team won best student documentary short at the Williamsburg International Film and Music Competition for its film, Tide to Table: The Remarkable Journey of Oysters, which kicked off a successful run of festival wins including honors and selections at Natures without Borders International Film Festival, Spotlight Film Festival, Ocean City Film Festival, Mystic Film Festival, Seaside Sustainability Film Festival and Ridgefield Film Festival, among others.

For Elizabeth Bardon, a 22-year-old journalism major from Nancy, France, the experience brought together her passions for story-telling, film, and her native country.

“It was such a great experience to be a part of something this special,” said Bardon. “To be able to work with this crew and explore our interests in food, film, and France is something I will never forget. It’s incredibly satisfying that our work was recognized at the Williamsburg International Film Festival.”

Tresmaine R. Grimes, dean of Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education, and interim dean of Sands College of Performing Arts, noted that Dyson College’s student filmmakers are talented and ready to make their mark in the region’s burgeoning film sector.

“The students put in the time and the hard work – and it shows in this film,” said Dean Grimes. “They perfected their art and craft with hands-on production experience that will serve them well. I am so moved by the talents of this team and the compelling film they have produced. Congratulations to them and Professors Luskay and Guarneri for another impressive PaceDocs honor.”

About Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

Pace University’s liberal arts college, Dyson College, offers more than 50 programs, spanning the arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and pre-professional programs (including pre-medicine, pre-veterinary, and pre-law), as well as many courses that fulfill core curriculum requirements. The College offers access to numerous opportunities for internships, cooperative education and other hands-on learning experiences that complement in-class learning in preparing graduates for career and graduate/professional education choices.

About Pace University

Since 1906, Pace University has been transforming the lives of its diverse students—academically, professionally, and socioeconomically. With campuses in New York City and Westchester County, Pace offers bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs to 13,600 students in its College of Health Professions, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, Sands College of Performing Arts, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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