Natasha Dow Schüll



All You Can Eat Las Vegas

Thanksgiving weekend, Las Vegas: a camera journeys through Sin City’s all-you-can-eat buffets and finds a kaleidoscope of characters behind the food—from tireless chefs preparing gargantuan bowls of ambrosia, to servers who bus endless plates, to hungry diners in search of a culinary jackpot and a portion of the American dream.

“The buffet is the happiest and saddest place,” says Pierre, a meat carver at the New Frontier’s buffet. This documentary brings the happiness and the sadness of the buffet to light, taking the audience on a wild gastronomic voyage behind the scenes of an all-American binge ritual. Buffet follows the food: from kitchen to cornucopia, table to mouth, waste bin to local farm where 6,000 eager pigs feast on buffet leftovers. All along the consumption chain, a diverse cast of characters share their desires, their weaknesses, their pleasures, and their shames The camera rolls as the savory promise that greets diners turns to gluttony, then despondence—and sometimes, a flickering hope for something more than just “all you can eat.”

Director, Producer: Natasha Dow Schüll
Co-Director, Camera: Hillevi Zazel Loven
Editors: Till Osterland, Natasha Dow Schüll, Matthew Bird
Additional Camera: Pawel Wojtasik, James Wright

“In this 30-minute ode to gluttony, self-proclaimed buffet connoisseurs arrange incredible and unlikely food combinations on enormous plates; casino employees, used to dealing with gob-smacking amounts of consumption, ponder how a horseshoeshaped restaurant allows for “more flow.” Meanwhile, Sin City pigs grunt on a farm outside town, eagerly awaiting the leftovers. After all, as the farmer’s wife points out, humans and pigs have nearly identical digestive tracts….”
San Francisco Guardian