Food, Fiction and Film in the Time of Covid

Pandemic Bread on Fireside

Last Friday Susan McBeth, indefatigable advocate of authors and founder of Adventures By the Book hosted a free virtual event on Fireside, a revolutionary new interactive streaming platform that invites the audience to participate in the show.

Director Zeinabu Irene Davis, Screenwriter Marc Chery and I talked about the process of developing a short film based on my flash nonfiction story about stress-baking during an end of life call. The indie film starred acclaimed Filipino actor Princess Punzalan, and was notable for its majority POC and LGBTQ cast and crew, a rarity in a predominantly white mainstream film industry.

Zeinabu, who is a professor at UC San Diego, used this project as a teaching moment and recruited undergraduate and graduate students from multiple universities as crew members. Over the course of the five-day shoot, they worked alongside professional set designers, cinematographers, sound engineers and actors. This rare opportunity provided them with invaluable real life experience and earned many of them (myself included!) their very first IMDB credit.

Screenwriter Marc Chery serves as Program Director at the San Diego Public Library. Marc collaborated with San Diego Writers, Ink, Write Out Loud, and the La Jolla Historical Society to produce the San Diego Decameron Project, an anthology of stories about the Covid 19 Pandemic. My nonfiction essay “Pandemic Bread” was ranked among the top 10 of a hundred stories published in the book, which was published in March 2022.

It was a lively discussion. Midway through, I read the original story then rolled out dough while describing my day job as a Tagalog interpreter, which more often than not inspires my writing. Watch our conversation by clicking on the link below:

Pandemic Bread is currently in post production, and Zeinabu plans to submit it to film festivals world wide. With any luck, a success at one festival will lead to more opportunities to screen the film for the general public.

You can read my story at this link: https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/soliven-marivi-pandemic_bread.pdf

A longer version of this story was published in 2021 on Zocalo Public Square. Read it at this link: https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2021/04/22/stress-baking-covid-19-pandemic-tagalog-interpretor-marivi-soliven/chronicles/where-i-go/

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