Black Gold: The Other Blood Diamond

Coffee, the second-most-traded commodity after oil. A daily staple in many of our lives but like countries ravaged by the spoils of the diamond and oil trades, coffee has not provided “coffee-rich nations”–this documentary details how corporations get rich as African coffee farmers become poorer.

Black Gold opened in the U.S. on January 12 and was, as reported by The Guardian, screened to British MPs at Westminster yesterday as an Ethiopian spokesperson meets with Tony Blair.

The film, which is not currently screening in Austin, has received rave reviews, particularly from the Los Angeles Times:

A fascinating portrait of a dedicated reformer within a fascinating portrait of a country (presented here in a way African countries are rarely presented in film), “Black Gold” is the latest independently funded documentary David to go after corporate Goliaths. “Black Gold” moves at an inexorable pace, painstakingly building a case until suddenly it looms very large and casts an even longer shadow.

Treehugger has an excellent interview with Nick Francis, one of the directors of Black Gold:

Being one minute in a coffee farming area in Ethiopia, in the area of Sidamo or Yirgacheffe, areas that are celebrated around the world by coffee experts as producing some of the best coffee in the world, and the farmers there are facing a humanitarian crisis. And yet you cross to the other side of the world, in the western world in the consuming countries, and the companies that are actually processing and marketing the coffee are earning more now than they ever have done. So that’s the juxtaposition we wanted to convey. Who’s winning and who’s losing in the global economy. And not everybody’s winning.

Perhaps the Alamo Drafthouse will carry it soon.

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