Wednesday, May 06, 2015
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“Black Gold”

A Wake Up Call for Economic Equity

Tribune movie review of Black Gold


A Wake-Up Call For Economic Equity `Black Gold' (star)(star)(star)

Michael Phillips, Tribune movie critic Published October 13, 2006

Coffee is an $80 billion-a-year business, and amazingly not all of it goes to Starbucks. Some of it ends up in the hands of criminally underpaid farmers who pick the beans and the criminally underpaid factory workers who sort them and bag them.

"Black Gold," a strong documentary from Nick Francis and Marc Francis, is guaranteed to make you think twice about what you're paying for what you're drinking. Their subject is Tadesse Meskela, who runs the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union representing the interests and beans of some 74,000 coffee farmers. Shot largely (and beautifully) in Ethiopia, "Black Gold" reveals the obstacles a man like Meskela is up against, from the multinational corporations that dominate and determine global market prices, to crushing, famine-ridden poverty all across Ethiopia. The movie makes sidetrips to Seattle, New York, northern Italy (for a visit with the Illy family of caffeine maniacs) and elsewhere, but at heart this is a story of Ethiopia. At the time of filming coffee farmers repped by Meskela were getting 30-year-low prices for their crop. Message: Drink free-trade coffee, and you'll improve somebody's life virtually overnight.


Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

Featured in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival!

Documentary about the international coffee trade uncovers the world of coffee and trade from the struggling Ethiopian bean grower to your coffee cup.

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/
In the first of four program announcements, Sundance Institute today announced the line-up of films for the Independent Feature Film and World Cinema Competitions in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, taking place January 19-29, 2006, in Park City, Utah. Among the documentaries is BLACK GOLD ( U.K. Director: Marc Francis, Nick Francis) a cinematic journey that uncovers the world of coffee and trade from the struggling Ethiopian bean grower to your coffee cup. World Premiere.

WORLD CINEMA COMPETITION: DOCUMENTARY The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in American documentaries, yet American audiences enjoy few opportunities to view documentaries from beyond their own borders. The 16 films selected from 448 international submissions represent nine countries including Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Mexico. These films invite us to glimpse the staggering scope and complexity of the human experience.

Learn more at:


Blackgold trailer


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