May 27, 2024


Food never sleeps.

“Love Language of Food”: Student Film Project Spotlights Cuisine as Common Denominator Across Cultures, Continents

5 min read


05/24/2022 – 09:35am | By: David Tisdale

USM Media and Entertainment Arts (MEA) students in the School of Communication spent the last year in a collaboration with students at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, for their production of the short film “The Food That Binds: Building Cultural Relationships Across the Table” focusing on how the preparation and enjoyment of food can be the common denominators that bridges multiple differences between people around the world.

USM Media and Enjoyment Arts (MEA) learners in the College of Conversation put in
the previous 12 months in a collaboration with college students at Thammasat University in Bangkok,
Thailand, for their generation of the brief movie “The Foodstuff That Binds: Creating Cultural
Relationships Across the Table” focusing on how the planning and enjoyment of meals
can be the typical denominators that bridge variances concerning persons all around the environment.

Differences in language, society, political and spiritual beliefs may perhaps present obstacles
to setting up interactions involving, say, a Hattiesburg resident and a citizen of
Bangkok, Thailand.

But a shorter documentary created by learners in The College of Southern Mississippi
(USM) School of Communications’ Media and Leisure Arts (MEA) system, in collaboration
with counterparts at a university in Thailand, intends to exhibit its audiences that
even with the discrepancies among people around the world, coming with each other more than a mouth watering
meal can bridge individuals chasms.

The “Breaking Bread Movie Challenge,” a collaboration involving Breakthrough Now Media
and The Innovation Station at the U.S. Department of State, provides movie and media
creators from international and U.S. Gulf Coastline destinations to perform on new short-type
content impressed by their shared encounters and thoughts. By this collaborative,
creators from five U.S. states and 5 nations around the world are paired and tasked with conceptualizing
and making a quick movie or other venture addressing the intersection among food
insecurity, traditions, and innovation. The program culminates in a showcase of the
collaborative initiatives.

Mississippi/USM is partnered with Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, for their
production “The Food That Binds: Constructing Cultural Interactions Throughout the Table”
to be screened in July at the Cash Screening Series in Washington, D.C., at the
United Nations, and at consulates and partner stakeholders in the U.S. and in the
associate Asian country’s university and consulates. It will also be screened at the
Catalyst Competition in Duluth, Minnesota in September.

Representatives of Breaking Bread related with Dr. Mary Lou Sheffer, professor in
the USM School of Conversation and senior faculty member in its MEA system, about
participation from her college students for the venture. They incorporate Zack Eddy of Petal,
Mississippi Mia Slone of Alexandria, Virginia Eli Goff of Gautier, Mississippi
and Alisia Powell of Picayune, Mississippi.

With advisement from Dr. Sheffer and her MEA school colleague Jared Hollingsworth,
these college students centered their exploration on the communal element of food items, examining the
dynamics of preparing and conversation at mealtime by the input of restauranters,
chefs and other culinary gurus, as properly as ‘foodies’ from throughout the Magnolia Condition
who adore sharing meals with household, friends, and even strangers.

Eddy mentioned how both of those cultures use lots of of the exact same staple meals – rice, fish, and a
assortment of vegetables, as examples – in making time-honored recipes, making use of distinctive
forms of seasoning and preparation models, in the farm-to-kitchen area-to-desk approach
special to the communities profiled in the documentary.

“What we want to exhibit with this film is the commonality between folks, revealed via
the enjoyment of planning and having mouth watering foods, no make a difference where they are prepared
or with whom they are shared with,” he claimed.

Goff mentioned he did not expect the venture to be as expansive as he at first assumed.
“I’m additional of an ‘eat-to-live’ sort of person as opposed to the ‘live-to-eat’ folks
who are passionate about meals in strategies I couldn’t have an understanding of,” he ongoing. “It was not
until eventually we commenced seriously listening to other people’s views on foodstuff culture –
in Mississippi as properly as other sites in the earth – that I recognized foods performs a
important function in not only people’s personalized lives, but in developing group as
effectively. In actuality, it is built me fully grasp my individual household a lot more, as I feel again to all
the situations my relatives would occur together and bond more than cooking.”

He claimed this idea was cemented in his intellect as the crew arrived at out to local cooks
and restaurant owners and observed how fired up they had been to tell them about what they cook
and why it matters to them.

“Cooking is not only an exercise to bond about, but it is the foundation for building associations
in Mississippi as properly as Thailand,” Goff ongoing. “We all have to consume. Why not
do it collectively?”

Slone concurred. “When you sit down at the table for a meal, you come to see that
you are not as unique from individuals from other cultures, other locations, as you assume,”
she claimed. “It reveals we’re a lot more alike than not.

“You put some excellent foods in entrance of me at the desk with other people today, and I can be
friends with any one.”

For Powell, the undertaking underscored for her what she already understood about how
genuine this dynamic is in her indigenous South. “Being ‘Southern’ means shut bonds, and
when we get alongside one another for a meal, it doesn’t subject about race, ethnicity, gender,
or politics, since we’re all loved ones in the end.” 

Teamwork and endurance have been beneficial features exercised by the crew in doing work with
yet another team of learners at an additional university halfway around the globe, only a few
of whom can discuss English. “It’s been a discovering working experience for all of us,” Dr. Sheffer
further more famous.

Dr. Edgar Simpson, director of the USM College of Interaction, praised Dr. Sheffer
for facilitating a venture for her students with such prominence in profile and arrive at.

“Our faculty are usually looking for chances to deliver our college students with new and
unique alternatives,” Dr. Simpson ongoing. “This task is an example of how technological know-how,
these types of as seem and video, transcends standard boundaries.”

Goff hopes when audiences see the team’s documentary, they appear to realize meals
is “a enjoy language spanning tradition.”

“Even while Mississippi and Thailand are worlds absent from each individual other, and no make any difference
how diverse persons seem all-around the globe, everyone comes with each other when they’re feeding on,”
he stated.

For information about the USM Faculty of Communication, take a look at


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