Sicilian, pepperoni, plain, whatever your preference, one thing we can all agree on- pizza is America’s favorite food. While most people believe their local pizzeria is the best, after watching Pizza, A Love Story, I’m willing to bet you’ll change your mind.
In the comedic documentary, Pizza, A Love Story, Gorman Berchard, transports the audience to the heart of New Haven, CT. Where in lies, the world’s greatest pizza. Gorman, a self-proclaimed pizza snob spent 11 years perfecting this film. According to him, and many other pizza connoisseurs, if you haven’t tasted Sally, Pepe or Modern you can’t talk about pizza.
GIFF sat with Gorman to gain some more delicious insight into the film-
What was your motivation in making this documentary?
The love for pizza, without question. I don’t believe in God but I believe there are three pizza places that matter-Sally, Pepe and Modern. Literally, the love for New Haven pizza is its own religion. Whether you go to college, grew up in New Haven or just visit, if you’ve tasted pizza there you realize when you go to other places that it’s not pizza.
Can you elaborate on including the history of Italian immigrants in the New Haven area?
That was the fun and hard part to put together. It’s also why it took so long. In the late 1800s New Haven had the largest Italian population in the country. They were in a new land, did not know the language but they knew how to bake-in the long run the crust is the essence of making a great pie.
The history of Pepe’s was well documented. Pepe is number 1-5 the most important person in pizza in the United States. The history for Sally’s was harder to find. We had to dig around. Modern was the most challenging, especially finding documentation on their origin. In the film there are three signs of Modern. Those were my holy grails. We found old pictures of New Haven on Ebay which is how we uncovered the signs to use in the documentary.
These are old school, Italian family restaurants. How was it to interview them about their businesses?
You can see in the film, talking to Bill from Modern- he gets emotional. He always wanted to make pizza. He’s living out his dream making people happy with the people he loves. Each pizzeria in New Haven has their own family vibe. You don’t go into one of these places and feel like you are in a chain.
There were many familiar faces included in the film. How did you get the celebrities involved, such as Michael Bolton and Henry Winkler, in the project?
My co-producer, Dean Falcon. He is really good at paying attention at who loves New Haven pizza. He followed up with everyone until we got some really good footage for the film. He also did all the music in the documentary.
To laugh and learn more about the perfected pizza in New Haven, CT please join GIFF on Friday, June 1st at 6:30 pm for a viewing of Pizza, A Love Story followed by a Q & A with Gorman Bechard, sponsored by the Connecticut Office of Film, TV, and Digital Media.