Daniel Klein is happy -- make that ecstatic -- as he should be, given his plans for the next year and a half. He's the documentary filmmaker who has chronicled stories of sustainable and adventurous eating for the past two years through a weekly Web series called the Perennial Plate, to wide acclaim.
For the first season, he and Mirra Fine, his partner and "camera gal" (as she calls herself), explored food around Minnesota, beginning with killing a turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner. For the second season they traveled around the country, telling visual tales of dining, from frogs to catfish. The two edited the videos in their ad hoc studio -- on a laptop in their car.
The third season, which begins in late October, is what has them so thrilled: They will head overseas, first to Japan and China. They've paired with the Intrepid travel company in Australia, which will provide a translator/guide while they explore the world on video. They are hoping to have a little help back in the Twin Cities as they continue the weekly schedule.
"We feel like this is a dream job. The last versions were dreams. This is over the top. Everything will be downhill from here," said Klein.
They will travel to two countries per trip, filming for about a month before coming back to the United States to edit, with their series continuing to be posted on a weekly basis. After traveling in the Far East, the two will head to India and Sri Lanka in December, followed by Spain and Morocco for the next leg of the trip, with a total of six trips over the next year. "South America, Africa and more of Europe are likely. We're trying to get a smattering of countries. Obviously, we're just touching the surface of getting a taste of these countries," said Klein.
Their connection to Intrepid began with an episode on Vietnam that reached a large audience. "It's a great partnership because they're a travel company and part of travel is getting to know local culture and local food. Our videos will focus on different aspects of sustainable food and culture and beauty that makes people want to travel," said Klein.
"This is more of a partnership than a sponsorship because they have people on the ground, like translators. We've found it really challenging to find stories in these countries when we don't speak the same language. On a big, expensive trip like this we need to know in advance what we're doing. It's harder to wing it," he said.
Find the series at www.perennialplate.com, including a new animated video that describes their upcoming journeys.
Follow Lee Svitak Dean on Twitter: @stribtaste