The Animated Film That Makes Light Of Our Favourite Past Time Food is integral to our survival but it has become so much more: we bond over it, we laugh over it, we experiment, discover new talents and create memories with loved ones. The emphasis we place on food is the subject of third year film student, Tiffany Wei’s, new film Meal Time!. Based on personal experiences, the idea for an animated film based around one of our favourite past times, came about after Tiffany’s grandpa passed away last summer. “The memory that kept coming up was eating together at the table, watching my grandma feed him”, she told us when we spoke to her and thus the film came about, as a tribute to the man with whom she had shared so many moving times with across the table. Relatable, endearing, laugh-out-loud funny and poignant, Tiffany’s film is a social commentary on the quirks and habits we all possess but may pay little attention to. Yet they colour our existence, reflected in the bold colours present throughout the video. Our attitude to food, the way we eat, unites us, it gives us all common ground and this video draws attention to the ways in which we are similar but also different. Funny, uplifting and astute, Tiffany’s film highlights our vulnerability as humans and foodies. We spoke to the animator about modern life, emotional eating and society. The Plus: The video is a real insight into modern life (taking photos of our food, caring for each other when we are old) did you discover anything while creating the video? (strong themes in society or things you hadn’t noticed before) Tiffany Wei: I wanted this film to be very relatable so I paid a lot of attention during meals with my friends and family. I discovered that people are the most honest and vulnerable while eating. Many people have pointed out my happy dance when I take the first bite of food so I started to take notice if any of my friends have the same. I have a friend who wiggles her fingers in excitement while eating. Almost all my friends around my age would also pull out their cellphones during the meal for an extended period of time. I have one or two friends that wouldn’t even let you eat until they took a photo to their liking. I also noticed a certain silence. This comes from being so hungry and focused that you don’t even care about making conversation and eating is the only important matter at hand. This silence is comfortable though! TP: What three words would you use to sum up the video? TW: Relatable, fun, intimate. These are at least the three things that I hoped to achieve with this film… TP: What emotions do you associate with eating? TW: This film is super personal to me so I often found myself really emotional when thinking of all the memories I have associated with eating. Most of my attachment towards eating comes from emotions of happiness and comfort. I’m of course satisfied when eating delicious food but I am even happier when sharing it with my friends and family. TP: Why do you think that food is such a social focus? TW: Eating, in my opinion is very communal. It’s obviously a necessity, but it also represents being together and sharing one’s company. Food is a mere prop, and for me, it symbolizes love and care. I think many Asian families show their affection with food so that is probably where I get this perspective from. TP: Tell us about yourself – what is your background and what do you want to do once you graduate? TW: I am from Southern California, born and raised all around the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire. I have a 17 year old younger brother. I am very prideful of where I come from so my family and friendships are everything to me. For that reason, I feel super lucky that I go to a school so close to where I am from. I’m not entirely sure what I want to do after I graduate. Career wise, I have a bunch of milestones that I want to reach that are too embarrassing to say out loud haha. I definitely want to be constantly improving and motivated. I want to travel and try new foods and buy my mom and brother nice things. I am excited for my future!