The filming during the visit to the Philippines captured the traditional cooking of lechon- whole pig cooked on a spit over an open flame.

It’s a wrap

After more than 200 days of traveling and shooting, the two returned to Adelaide to edit the film. For five months they went through the footage and translations and pieced the film together. Since they visited many non-English speaking nations, most of the spoken segments in the film include English subtitles. “It was important that we accurately portrayed the messages of everyone we interviewed through the subtitles,” Tucker says. “We found representatives from each country in Adelaide, so we invited them over to screen the movie and check the translations.”

The last step in the process was incorporating a musical score. Christopher Larkin, an Australian composer, wrote the score for the documentary. Unlike some film projects where the music is written and recorded after the project is complete, Larkin received clips of the footage while it was still in the process of being shot and was able to start composing during production.

Thanks to a little extra money left in the production budget, Salleh and Tucker were able to have an orchestra in Budapest perform the score that ended up in the final film.

The movie was ready to be released by early 2017. It had its US premier at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin in March 2017. During its debut at South by Southwest, Salleh and Tucker got a deal with Netflix. The film was translated into 20 languages and was released on the online streaming network in August 2017. The film also had its Australian and Canadian premier in 2017 and made a tour of area film festivals.

The crowning reward for the couple’s years of work came this spring when “Barbecue” won the 2018 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award in the category of radio, television broadcasts, podcasts, webcasts and documentaries.

“We started this film with the hypothesis that there’s more in this world that brings cultures together and more similarities that we have with other cultures than things that drive us apart and makes us different,” Salleh says. “Through ‘Barbecue’ we can see that the way people do things can be so different, but the reason why people do things and the reasons people get together – to tell stories and relive memories – are the same all around the world.

“After having the privilege and honor of meeting and spending time with these amazing people, we actually see a version of the world that has more in common than people realize. If people get some version of that message when they watch this film, we’d be happy.”