01 Ago A six dollar cup of coffee-Thelasource
Mexican producers Ibañez and Diaz tackle the behind the scenes, rarely talked about events from the growing of beans to the pouring of a cup of coffee. In A Six Dollar Cup of Coffee, an innovative coffee co-op founded by Indigenous producers in Chiapas, Mexico had the idea of selling processed coffee instead of the raw green bean and when a Japanese company buys most of it, life seems to be on the up and up.
“When we started with the coffee co-op it was to show the struggle they endure to commercialize their coffee,” says Diaz.
Both Ibañez and Diaz admit to drinking a lot of coffee, up to five or six cups a day. Yet they had no idea what sort of work was behind the production of what they drank.
“Also as a gastronomic ingredient – I think a lot more people are drinking coffee, especially in the North West in places like Seattle, Portland and Vancouver there are a lot of roasters. It is important for people to know the origin of their coffee crop, not just the finished product. If you know about your food you will drink better coffee,” adds Ibañez.
Then tragedy strikes in the film as a fungus destroys 70 per cent of the crop. Soon the Japanese company sell their chain restaurant and the co-op has to go back to the drawing board. The filmmakers said the struggle of making the film was to adapt to the change.
“We shot for a very long time –five years,” says Diaz.
They faced challenges with funding and filming was difficult, but Diaz says editing the footage was the hardest.
“We had to take all the footage and put it into a narrative we designed, but this is real life and we had to adapt to life sometimes,” says Diaz.
Diaz says that working on the movie taught the filmmakers patience, awareness of natural cycles and different ways of life.
“When you work with food you have to be patient. You have to wait for the agronomical cycles and respect the way the people live. Since we lived with this co-op for four years, we wanted to tell their human story too. How to balance the information with the dramatic story-telling was a great challenge,” says Diaz.
The film has many messages Diaz and Ibañez hope to deliver to audiences, but there is one in particular the filmmakers hope stays with Vancouver audiences:
“Every coffee you purchase helps a certain system to prevail. We invest in the future we want and if you see not just the gastronomical side of it, but the faces and people whose lives are impacted by a one-dollar cup of coffee, not just the roasters and baristas, but the growers too.”