"Barista" is a short fiction film that tells a specific story, but it's also a generational narrative about the precarious service worker. It’s about the crippling costs of health care and education, about paying the bills in a lagging economy while still trying move forward. But it’s also about what happens to a couple when moving forward is no longer an option.
Allison (25) works for a major coffee chain that provides her with health insurance but poverty wages. She wants to change her life and become a graphic designer, but these dreams are muted by the grind of the service industry, the cost of college, and the need to pay the bills. Her longtime boyfriend, Holt (27), urges her to reinvent her life, and finally she relents.
Everything is falling into place—the couple moves into a new apartment, Allison reapplies to college and prepares to quit her job. But suddenly, it all falls apart. Allison, through a terrifying, traumatic episode, discovers she has MS. She knows a chronic disease is expensive. She knows that leaving her job—and her health insurance–would bury her in medical bills. This rude awakening brings Holt and Allison's relationship to the brink, and forces them to stare down their bleak economic future.
WHY "BARISTA" IS IMPORTANT
In the midst of economic turmoil, this country's low wage service class is growing exponentially. These jobs are replacing ones that used to be better, and they promise an uncertain and prohibitive future. This film is close to my heart not only because I've worked in the service industry for years, but because this is based on the story of a very close friend of mine.
This film is a modern take on Italian neorealism. Like the post-WWII films of De Sica and Rossellini, "Barista" will expose a disappointing economic reality, and be shot on location with as much natural light as possible.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
We have most of the elements in place to make "Barista." We have a great cast lined up and much of the crew. The locations are set and won't cost a dime. We're also getting to use most of the gear for free. But we need your help to transport and feed a cast and crew of 15 to 25 people for a four-day shoot. And, in the spirit of "Barista," we want to pay these talented workers fairly for their time.
MEET THE PRODUCERS
Christina Roussos is a NYC-based theater director who has recently made the leap to film by co-producing and directing the sitcom "The Share." Her next projects are the play "Magic Trick" in the 2012 NYC Fringe Festival and the short film "Almost Everything."
Nona Willis Aronowitz is a writer, editor, and co-founder of Tomorrow magazine. She was the former associate editor at GOOD, where she edited and sometimes wrote a column called Hustlin', about youth and the economy. She also curates the Tumblr Minimum Ragers, a blog about the service industry.
Tiffany Fisher-Love is a NYC-based stage manager and electrician who currently works for more than seven different theaters across the city. This is her third time producing for film and she is very excited to be a part of such a political and cathartic project.
Shipping note: If you live outside the U.S., please add $5 for a copy of the DVD or $10 for the poster.
Thank you to all the people who put their time and effort into making this Kickstarter video. Thanks to Nona Willis Aronowitz for writing and directing, Lucy Radtke for editing, Duane Harper-Grant for shooting and composing the score, Dean Cassara and Shawn Cassara for storyboard art, Tiffany Fisher-Love for gaffing, Cubana Social for letting me shoot at the restaurant, and Simona Duque for preparing a cortadito on camera.
And thanks to you for supporting this film!
Music during The Bartender clip is Max Richter, “On the Nature of Daylight.”
- (30 days)