A documentary film-in-progress about the beloved Italian cookbook writer, Marcella Hazan.

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MARCELLA is a feature-length documentary-in-progress about the extraordinary woman who changed how Americans cook and experience Italian food.

Marcella Hazan embraced simplicity and tradition, and built recipes around high quality ingredients, many of which were not available to Americans in the middle of the 20th century, when parmesan cheese came in a shaker and olive oil was barely known. At a time when Italian food in America meant red sauce and meatballs, Marcella introduced millions of Americans to regional recipes handed down through generations of Italian families. The New York Times wrote that “the impact Mrs. Hazan had on the way America cooks Italian food is impossible to overstate.”

Marcella trained as a scientist and, as a young woman, never set foot in the kitchen. A childhood injury had left her with an injured right arm, a challenge for the physical work of food preparation. But after migrating to New York in the 1950s, she took to cooking with enormous purpose, overcoming her disability, intent upon recreating her memories of the flavors she experienced back in Italy. Soon, she was not only cooking but teaching. When a Chinese cooking instructor was no longer able to lead a class of New York housewives, Marcella took over and taught her fellow students to prepare authentic Italian food instead. Word got out that she was a gifted teacher, and before long Craig Claiborne was praising her work in the New York Times.

The publicity led to a contract for her to write cookbooks, and her first, “The Classic Italian Cook Book,” was a runaway success. By the early 1970s, she was a celebrity, rubbing shoulders with the greatest chefs in the world, teaching thousands of students who came to study in her kitchen, and influencing millions more through her books. In kitchens across America, her recipes began a quiet revolution.

The film will take us from Marcella’s childhood in a tiny Italian village, to Manhattan, where she created a life with her husband and eventual cookbook collaborator, Victor Hazan, whose Jewish family had fled fascist Italy for the U.S. We trace the story of a determined, brilliant woman, who rejected both the bleak food culture of 1950s America and the strictures of post-war domestic life. The journey will bring us back to Italy, where we will revisit the vibrant kitchens and markets where she taught generations of students to understand, prepare, and love authentic Italian food.

Interwoven with her personal story will be an exploration of a handful of her iconic recipes, and their impact on people’s lives, including some of the many home cooks whose marriages began with a dish so seductive, it came to be known as “engagement chicken.” In archival footage and interviews with fellow chefs, famous fans, former students, and Marcella herself, we will capture a sense of a master teacher -- and sometimes a stern taskmaster -- whose goal was not just to teach kitchen technique, but to convey a broader understanding tradition, history, and generational knowledge.

Directed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Peter Miller (SACCO AND VANZETTI, AKA DOC POMUS, JEWS AND BASEBALL, BEDLAM), MARCELLA will reach audiences throughout the world in cinemas and film festivals, on television, streaming, and video, bringing Marcella’s story to millions of old fans and new admirers.


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Marcella

Marcella

A documentary film-in-progress about the beloved Italian cookbook writer, Marcella Hazan

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3 weeks ago
Marcella

The magnificent New York restaurant The Leopard at des Artistes has thrown its support behind our MARCELLA documentary!

Every time a guest orders Chef Frosolone's Ragù Bolognese, a portion of the check will go toward helping us finish our work. And every table is given a card with info about the film and an opportunity to make an additional tax-deductible donation. We are beyond grateful to the team at The Leopard and Gruppo Italiano for their partnership.

If your plans bring you to New York, we hope you will choose to have a meal (or two) there -- the food is spectacular, it's one of the most beautiful dining rooms on the planet, and you could even help get our documentary completed!

More about the film and a donation link: marcella.wedid.it/

Grazie mille!

#marcellahazan #bolognesesauce #documentary #TheLeopardNYC
... See MoreSee Less

The magnificent New York restaurant The Leopard at des Artistes has thrown its support behind our MARCELLA documentary! 

Every time a guest orders Chef Frosolones Ragù Bolognese, a portion of the check will go toward helping us finish our work. And every table is given a card with info about the film and an opportunity to make an additional tax-deductible donation. We are beyond grateful to the team at The Leopard and Gruppo Italiano for their partnership. 

If your plans bring you to New York, we hope you will choose to have a meal (or two) there -- the food is spectacular, its one of the most beautiful dining rooms on the planet, and you could even help get our documentary completed! 

More about the film and a donation link: https://marcella.wedid.it/

Grazie mille! 

#marcellahazan #bolognesesauce #documentary #TheLeopardNYC

Comment on Facebook

Looking forward to taste the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese first, and see the film asap

I practically grew up there (when it was the Cafe des Artistes) because my family lived three blocks away. My mother was inspired to purchase two Howard Chandler Christy paintings. I am so glad they are supporting MARCELLA!

My favorite NYC restaurant! 🤩

Amazing fundraising

How fantastic Peter. Way to hang in there and make it happen! Send DM our love!

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4 weeks ago
Marcella

Filming with the amazing Philadelphia-based, Nigerian-born chef Shola Ulunloyo, whose brilliant cooking has been inspired by the work of #marcellahazan

Thanks to our friends at the online Italian food purveyor Gustiamo for the making this connection!
... See MoreSee Less

Filming with the amazing Philadelphia-based, Nigerian-born chef Shola Ulunloyo, whose brilliant cooking has been inspired by the work of #marcellahazan

Thanks to our friends at the online Italian food purveyor Gustiamo for the making this connection!

Comment on Facebook

Looks incredible

3 months ago
Marcella

Last week, we sent rewards to our Kickstarter donors (aprons, fridge magnets, baskets of Italian food goodies). Now we’re hearing from folks in kitchens everywhere who got their Marcella swag. Thank you everyone for joining our effort to tell Marcella’s story! We are beyond grateful. (And please send pictures and we’ll add you to the celebration!) ... See MoreSee Less

Last week, we sent rewards to our Kickstarter donors (aprons, fridge magnets, baskets of Italian food goodies). Now we’re hearing from folks in kitchens everywhere who got their Marcella swag. Thank you everyone for joining our effort to tell Marcella’s story! We are beyond grateful. (And please send pictures and we’ll add you to the celebration!)Image attachmentImage attachment+3Image attachment
3 months ago
Marcella

To all Kickstarter backers, thank you again for your contribution! 🍅

PSA, if you chose a reward that needs to be shipped, we sent you a survey on April 15, asking for your mailing address. If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to answer that survey so we can send you your item(s)! We will be shipping next week, so please respond ASAP. If you believe you should have gotten a survey and you didn't, please email us at marcella@willowpondfilms.com so we can look into it. Thank you again for your contribution!
... See MoreSee Less

To all Kickstarter backers, thank you again for your contribution! 🍅

PSA, if you chose a reward that needs to be shipped, we sent you a survey on April 15, asking for your mailing address. If you havent done so already, please take a moment to answer that survey so we can send you your item(s)! We will be shipping next week, so please respond ASAP.  If you believe you should have gotten a survey and you didnt, please email us at marcella@willowpondfilms.com so we can look into it. Thank you again for your contribution!
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