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Local Filmmaker Celebrates Pittsburgh Food

Artist David Bernabo creates a series of films that track various aspects of Pittsburgh's food culture.


Food Systems, Chapter 1: A Night Out from David Bernabo on Vimeo.

Self-taught filmmaker David Bernabo was inspired to create a documentary about Pittsburgh’s blossoming food scene after a conversation with a well-known Pittsburgh chef. Realizing that it was nearly impossible to go into the depths of food production in only 90 minutes, Bernabo divided the film into four parts under the title “Food Systems,” with each focusing on a different aspect of Pittsburgh’s food culture. 

“Two years ago, I was finishing up my first documentary, ‘Ongoing Box,' about the role of process in artistic [creation],” Bernabo told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “One of the ‘artists' was (chef) Kevin Sousa. He mentioned that a movie on restaurants in Pittsburgh would be interesting. I was looking for a new film project and just dove into this.”

“Food Systems: A Night Out” (trailer above) focuses on Sousa and a host of other chefs, tracking the evolution of Pittsburgh restaurants. “Food Systems, Chapter 2: Dinner on the Farm” is a short film that’s “mere fly-on-the-wall, less narrative” with the filmmaker capturing moments from dinner parties at local farms. “Food Systems 3: The Ecosystem” focuses on the farmers who grow the food we eat and on climate change’s effect on that food.

“Climate Change is radically impacting what we eat on a local and global level, but it is still seen as a quiet threat,” said Bernabo. “Pennsylvania's energy policies and history of destroying land for fuel are not helping this and are actually causing issues for farmers due to skyrocketing land prices due to mineral rights for fracking. But we are all complicit in this.”

The first 3 chapters are ready to be viewed, while the 4th is still in production. 

To see the schedule of screenings or to purchase the film, go to the Food Systems website.


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