Pivoting in the Pandemic: From filmmaking to catering

Written by on May 13, 2021

Pivoting in the Pandemic: From filmmaking to catering

By Hayden Mitman

May 13, 2021

Zeke Zelker holding one of his products. Photo | Courtesy of Zekraft

WLVR’s occasional “Pivoting in the Pandemic” series shares stories of how some local businesses have survived the challenges of COVID-19.

Listen to the story.

The second segment introduces a local filmmaker who started a catering company last year when the local film industry shut down.

Lately, Zeke Zelker is more likely to be surrounded by the sound of vegetables on a chopping board or the soft bubbling of hot oil in a fryer than the commotion of a movie set. 

“People generally know me as a filmmaker. I’ve been making films in the Valley for over 30 years. And, with the pandemic, things completely changed. My industry pretty much shut down and, quite honestly, I don’t know if it’s ever gonna come back,” Zelker says. 

The founder of the production company, IDreamMachine, says when he could no longer make films, he launched Zekraft, a home meal delivery and catering company in Easton. 

It might seem like a leap from one industry to another, but Zelker, whose ancestor,  Jacob Plarr, started Dorney Park, says food has always been a big part of his life. 

“They were all butchers who came over from France. And, what happened was, that started out as a picnic grove. In order to sell more food, they brought a carousel in. And, as they brought more amusements they were able to sell more food. So, we are really all in the food business,” Zelker says.

The two industries really aren’t so different, he says, each requires careful planning and organization.

“Oh, 100% it’s all about production! It’s all about production. It’s a show too,” 

His background as an artist has helped keep him flexible, he says..

“You have to reinvent yourself to stay relevant. Oftentimes as an artist, you’ve got to be as uncomfortable as possible, because that’s what sparks creativity,” he says.  

And, while the pandemic caused him to put film making on the back burner, Zelker says he has no regrets. 

“It’s very satisfying, I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life” he says.  

Zelker hasn’t totally given up filmmaking. He still runs a creative program for children called Art Spark but is happy to focus on Zekraft. 

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