Last week I was invited along to an ‘under-the-radar’ screening at The Reliance restaurant and bar at the top of Leeds city centre for a screening of sustainable farming documentary Fresh (2009) directed by Ana Sofia Joanes.
The screening was a collaboration between The Reliance and Laura Ager, representing Leeds International Film Festival, with the aim of establishing a regular screening night to be held in the restaurant’s ‘private room’.
After ordering drinks at the bar and being treated to home-made popcorn and ham crisps (that’s not ham flavoured, that’s crisps actually made of ham!) the audience took their seats. Used until now for private meals, tables had been moved aside and the restaurant’s trademark mix-n-match seating lined up to face the screening wall. Cosy rather than cramped, the 24-seat make-shift venue
Peppered with an array of charismatic characters, Fresh is a casserole of healthy and ethical ideas for rearing cattle and harvesting crops in the American mid-west. Despite it’s initial bitter bite of a no-hold-barred and matter-of-fact depiction of the corporate farming industry (I haven’t eaten meat since seeing the film) the viewers palette is soon cleansed as organic livestock farmers explain how less can provide so much more.
For dessert there was a brief discussion about the film and how the practices of the farmers reflect the attitudes of The Reliance’s ethos when it comes to sourcing food for the restaurant.
Boy, I’m hungry…
There was also discussion about how future screening nights could be improved on and marketed to an audience. There may have also been talk of guest programmers putting together screening nights as to keep them as fresh as the restaurant’s produce. I can think of at least one Leeds based film society that would welcome the opportunity…
The Reliance is open from midday, Monday-Saturday and 11AM on Sunday. Thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows it is constantly filled with natural light and the ideal location to enjoy a craft ale, home-made charcuterie and more – their poached eggs are Homer-Simpson-drooling-good.
Until next time – see you, Space Cowboy…