During this very unusual year, we’re very excited to offer the fascinating (and fun!) documentary PLAYING FOR KEEPS from acclaimed Bay Area filmmaker James Redford as your complimentary Member Screening.

As we won’t be able to mingle together in person with wine and nibbles in hand this year, we’ve enlisted the expert palate of celebrated Hayes Street Grille and Top Hatters Kitchen & Bar chef Robert Zaborny to curate a Digital Dinner Pairing and encourage a merry mood for this high-spirited film. 

We encourage you to grab your cutting board, and join the fun! All recipes and photos from Chef Rob are available below. Get Active: post pics of your finished results on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram and be sure to tag #MVFF43 – we’ll be sure to re-post your creations!

Once you’re all set with cocktail, popcorn, and treats at the ready, visit mvff.com, log on using your member number, select PLAYING FOR KEEPS in the CAFILM Streaming Room and ENJOY!



Despite the often-challenging darkness of our times, from our current political moment to the stressors of career and home, Playing for Keeps looks to discover how we can cope and emerge as our brightest selves. Taking a social and scientific approach, the film holistically explores the positive role that play has in our everyday lives across all ages and demographics. With personal testimony from a diverse range of interviewees (including NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt), the film buoyantly looks at how we create community and connection as a species, and how vital it is that we prevent ourselves from being defined by our anxieties. Most importantly, it looks at how we connect with ourselves to recharge, whether by creative expression, communal engagement, or getting in touch with our surroundings. Maintaining a sense of visual joy and effervescence, Playing for Keeps inspires through its study of the value of re-centering yourself.

JAMES REDFORD –  The primary goal of Playing For Keeps, as with all of our films, is to aid in the health and repair of our social fabric. At first glance, a film about the physical, emotional, and social benefits of play might seem a little lightweight, but a deep look at the power of play reveals a uniquely effective way to reduce stress, improve health, and bolster community connections.

One way that Redford himself is keeping play an integral part of his day to day life is in the kitchen! When it comes to movie snacks, he keeps things classic: popcorn with a little salt, accompanied by a frosty cold root beer. Redford has declined comment on the controversial Twizzlers vs. Red Vines debate, and we accept this concession confession.


Chef and cooking instructor who has worked in the Bay Area for many years, Robert Zaborny has been involved in all aspects of the food business – line cook, executive chef, restaurant owner, panelist in a professional tasting panel. His love of travel (when that is possible again) allows him to experience the cuisines (and cultures) of the world, so he can bring that back to tables here in the Bay Area. Formerly the chef at the famous Hayes Street Grille, he is currently cooking at TopHatters Kitchen in San Leandro as well as teaching with Hands-on Gourmet, based in San Francisco.



This tasty movie treat will have your mouth watering from the smell alone! Everything in this recipe is easy to find and will elevate your at-home movie experience. (Makes 9 cups)


  • 1/3 cup popcorn
  • 3 T canola oil
  • Pop popcorn & set aside
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup toasted coconut
  • Mix popcorn, peanuts & coconut. Set aside.


  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t. brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 t. turmeric
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • Mix all & set aside.


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T water

Over medium heat combine butter, brown sugar, and water. Stirring with a rubber spatula, cook until mixture is thickened, about 7 minutes. 

Take the caramel off the heat. Add spice mix, pour over popcorn mix. Stir with an oiled wooden spoon to mix well.

Pour the caramel corn onto oiled cookie sheets and spread evenly. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature. Serve immediately or store in airtight bags. Will keep well for 4 days


This colorful and delicious drink is the perfect way to feel like an expert mixologist without any of the fuss. This can be enjoyed sans alcohol or you can kick it up a notch with gin, vodka, tequila or rum.

  • 2 c. Diced watermelon, seeded
  • 1/2c. diced peeled cucumber
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 T. of coarse sugar
  • Pinch of Kosher salt 
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 4 ice cubes.
  • Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth
  • Add 1/4 c. mint, lemon verbena, cilantro leaves, or any combination thereof and pulse until smooth.

Add sparkling water for a soft drink.
Add gin, vodka, tequila, or rum to taste.
Dip a moistened glass in the coarse sugar.
Serve well iced.


This dish is great for late summer, early fall. California is home to such a bounty of ingredients so we encourage you to help support our local farmers and farmers markets when shopping for this dish – here you can view this list of certified Farmer Markets.

  • 4 filets of salmon, salted and peppered
  • 2T. unsalted butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  • 4 ears of corn, cut off the cob
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini or any other summer squash, diced
  • 1c. cooked Fava, Lima or green beans, diced
  • 3T. unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika 
  • 3 T. Chopped parsley
  • 1 bunch chives, diced finely
  • 3 c. fresh arugula
  • Salt and pepper salmon filets. Set aside.
  • Make the succotash.  In a large sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté over medium heat until the onions turn translucent and the peppers are tender. Add the corn, squash, and beans and cook until tender. Add salt, pepper, paprika. Set aside. 
  • In the same pan that the succotash was cooked in, melt the butter over a hot flame. Sauté the salmon filets skin side up for 4 minutes, until there is a nice crisped surface. Flip filets and cook for another 4 minutes. Turn off the flame. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Swirl juice and pan juices together. Set aside.
  • To serve: Cover each plate with room temperature arugula. On the arugula sprinkle the succotash. Cover the succotash with a filet of salmon. Spoon some of the pan juices on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and chives. Serve immediately.