Ron Howard to Direct Documentary on Humanitarian Chef Jose Andres for National Geographic

Film produced by Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Documentaries focuses on charity work of World Central Kitchen

José Andrés World Central Kitchen
Hurricane Dorian, Sept 2019 (Credit: World Central Kitchen)

Ron Howard is continuing his relationship with National Geographic and is set to direct another documentary film for the studio, this time focused on the founder of the nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen, chef and humanitarian Jose Andres, National Geographic announced Thursday.

Howard will direct the documentary that will focus on the work of Andres helping to rebuild nations in the wake of disasters and providing healthy food to those affected. Howard will have access to World Central Kitchen’s archives and will follow Andres around the globe, including his work in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Dorian from September of last year.

The untitled film continues the relationship after Howard directed “Rebuilding Paradise” for National Geographic about the Paradise wildfires. The film premiered at Sundance early this year.

Howard and Brian Grazer are producing for their Imagine Documentaries along with Imagine Documentaries’ Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes. The film will be executive produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Michael Rosenberg and Louisa Velis, World Central Kitchen’s Nate Mook and Richard Wolffe, and National Geographic Documentary Films’ Carolyn Bernstein and Ryan Harrington.

As the world’s most prominent food-focused first responders, Andres and the World Central Kitchen team have snapped into action, combatting hunger in the wake of crisis by serving over 16 million meals to date. Most recently, the organization has mobilized to bring healthy, nourishing food to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, delivering meals to quarantined cruise ship passengers, school children, medical professionals, the elderly and the most vulnerable through the #ChefsforAmerica program, which is now serving more than 100,000 meals every day across the United States and in Spain.

The film will take an in-depth look at World Central Kitchen’s collaborations with local chefs to feed affected people and first responders, which has instilled an extraordinary sense of hope in these communities. From the front lines of a crisis to the backrooms of the kitchen, the film will examine the restoration of community and the activation of change, one meal at a time.

“Serving people a plate of fresh food after a disaster is more than just about calories to fill them up. A hot meal is comfort, dignity, hope — a sign that someone cares and that tomorrow will be better,” Andres said in a statement. “From Puerto Rico to the Bahamas to Mozambique, I’ve seen how important quick action and constant adaptation are to reach communities in need with the urgency of now. I’m excited to work with National Geographic, along with Ron and the Imagine team, to tell World Central Kitchen’s story and show how powerful food is in the fight to heal people and the planet.”

“When we first started shooting ‘Rebuilding Paradise,’ I was amazed to see the immediate impact that Jose and the World Central Kitchen team had on the citizens of Paradise, California, in the aftermath of the crippling fires that destroyed their town,” Howard said in a statement. “And now, following him as he helps those most in need during this pandemic, I realized that the work he’s doing around the world is one of the most critical and oftentimes overlooked necessities in disaster relief. I’m honored to share his mission with audiences around the world.”

“We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and the ferociously talented team at Imagine Documentaries, who share our passion for impactful and authentic storytelling,” Bernstein, executive vice president of global scripted content and documentary films for National Geographic, said in a statement. “We look forward to inspiring and energizing audiences around the world as we turn the lens on Jose Andres and World Central Kitchen’s innovative, compassionate and transformative humanitarian efforts.”

National Geographic’s most recent film “The Cave” from director Feras Fayyad was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.