Daisy May’s ‘Breakfast at Ina’s’ to premiere at CIFF

Ina Pinkney, iconic restaurateur

Feature doc “Breakfast at Ina’s,” from filmmaker Mercedes Kane of Daisy May Films, will have its world premiere in the new, first-time “City & State” section of the 51st Chicago International Film Festival running Oct. 15-29.

Written, directed, edited and co-produced by Kane with DP Sanghoon Lee, the story is about “Breakfast Queen” Ina Pinkney, who closed her popular 33 year old West Loop restaurant in 2014 as she faced the late stages of polio.

The doc interweaves the bittersweet final days of Ina’s beloved restaurant with her extraordinary personal narrative.  Kane and Lee began shooting at Ina’s restaurant in December, 2013, before Ina closed her business, and shot for eight weeks until the end of February, Kane says. 

Kane says she came across the doc idea when she read a story in the Tribune about Ina’s closing. “It touched a little on my life, since my father was in the restaurant business and I’ve always been fascinated by it.”

Since the doc was a passion project for the small crew, production costs were held in check, although they held “a little fundraiser for the marketing,” Kane says. CIFF is the first festival to screen the doc as it begins its travels along the festival route.

But festival acceptance shouldn’t be a concern for the filmmaker.  Kane’s previous doc, “Today We Saw the Face of God,” won “Best Documentary Feature” in two of the 10 festivals in which it screened. 

CIFF’S City & State section launches with the largest number of local film selections in its 51 years in business. 

In addition to Kane’s, features from directors Stephen Cone, Valerie Weiss, Kevin Pang and Mark Helenowski, Rob Hatch-Miller, Jack C. Newell, Rebecca Parrish and Malik Bader.