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The film, titled Setting the Bar: A Craft Chocolate Origin Story, will tell the story of chocolate from bean in the Amazon to bar in high-end cafes and stores. The film will follow a group of craft-chocolate makers as they venture into the Peruvian jungle to strengthen direct relationships with farmer communities and identify new kinds of cacao to bring to market. It will explore the economic realities of farmers and artisans, and capture the passion and sense of adventure of this inspiring group of people.
This project will explore the intersection of food culture and sustainability. Consumers are increasingly attuned to food sourcing and production methods, and are more willing to pay a premium for sustainable and artisanal products. But does this create a better economic outcome for everyone involved? Will this help to support more environmentally sustainable agriculture practices? How can farmer livelihoods be improved? Our goal is to make a visually beautiful film that educates viewers on a popular food while at the same time exploring these questions.
Over the summer, we travelled to the Peruvian Amazon with a group of craft chocolate makers to search for cacao breeds that have never been cultivated for chocolate production. We took small planes over old growth rainforest, and navigated tributaries by boat to access remote areas of the jungle. Along the way, we met communities whose livelihoods are supported by cacao.
The footage we captured is beautiful and touching; we caught the passion of the chocolate makers, recorded the farmer’s personal stories, and investigated the impacts of deforestation in the Amazon.
- Nate Hodge, co-owner of Raaka Chocolate in Red Hook, New York
- Ryan Berk, owner of Parliament Chocolate in Redlands, California
- Elaine Read & Matt Weyandt, co-owners of Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate in Atlanta, Georgia
- Dan Rattigan, co-owner of French Broad Chocolate in Asheville, North Carolina
- Greg D’Allesandre, Partner at Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco, California
- Steve Bergin, Founder of Conservation Cacao
- Carmen Rosa Chavez, Director of Agricultural Business at the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture
- Mark Christian, Director of Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund (HCP)
- Simran Sethi, Award Winning Journalist and Author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love
- William Vasquez Diaz, President of Coffee and Chocolate Cooperative In Peru: Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera Pangoa Ltda
- Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, Celebrity Chef and Restaurant Owner in Lima, Peru
- Julian Mendez Calderon, Field technician from Alianza Cacao, USAID cacao program
- Dr. Lee Berk, Director of Loma Linda University’s Clinical Molecular and Psychoneuroimmunology Research Laboratory
- Participants at Northwest Chocolate Festival, Seattle, Washington
“What I am most passionate about is telling the story of the farmer as an artisan. It’s not just about what we’re doing as artisan chocolate makers, it is about the job hundreds of miles away and what they’re putting into it- that is the story that needs to be told. These cacao farmers don’t want to be saved, they want to be respected.” - Nate Hodge, Raaka Chocolate, January 2016
“It is crucial that people know the origins of their food and know it comes from sustainable sources. So far, it seems like there have only been films about slave labor in cacao production in Africa. It is important to give justice to the bad, but also show the good. We need to make a film about the good things going on in chocolate.” -Ryan Berk, Parliament Chocolate, February 2016
“I feel obligated to come down (to Peru) to meet the farmers and develop new opportunities where none previously existed. We could buy beans and not go outside the US, but that wouldn’t bring us closer to knowing the people who are harvesting cacao. Quality is based in hand labor.” - Dan Rattigan, French Broad Chocolates, June 2016
PRIMARY FILM TEAM
Tim Shephard, Director
Tim is passionate about telling stories to raise awareness of social and environmental issues and inspire people to take action. Tim started his career as a video journalist at Australia's largest newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, where he produced, directed, and edited a range of videos on social equality and human rights issues. After moving to San Francisco in 2011, Tim’s film work has focused on food and the environment. He worked on a film for ‘The Breathe Project’, a campaign to raise awareness about air pollution in Pittsburgh. In 2013, he helped produce and direct the 'What I See Project'; a program aimed at empowering women to share their perspectives on what it means to be a woman, along with a film for the Public Education Network where he directed Dave Eggers in a voiceover. More recently, Tim co-produced a film for Four Barrel coffee and partnered with Nopa Restaurant in San Francisco on several food-related short films. Tim has several films currently in development for upcoming Whetstone Magazine, including a profile of Mexico's most renowned knife maker and a film about women working in Mezcal production in Oaxaca. When he's not creating or consuming films, he is creating and consuming food in the home he shares with Amy Burns in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Amy Burns, Producer
Amy Burns has been working in film, accounting and finance for the last seven years, mainly in the environmental sector. Amy spent four and a half years in financial planning and accounting management for California Environmental Associates, a consulting firm who works with businesses, foundations, public institutions, and conservations groups to create economic incentives and innovative programs that deliver environmental returns. She brings these skills to producing films where she focuses on budgeting, financial distribution and logistics. Amy's professional film background entails camera operation for NBCUniversal Spanish and English Morning News Programs in San Diego, California and was the producer for a series of documentaries in Bolivia for five local nonprofits dedicated to reconizing and improving the rights for at-risk and impoverished children. Amy went to college in San Diego, California earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Television, Film and New Media Production specializing in production logistics and budgeting. Amy learned Spanish when she lived in El Salvador for four years as a teenage; she spent the first 17 years of her life living in Liberia, El Salvador, India and Morocco. She now lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.
We need your help and support for post-production expenses to finish the project. We have our kickstarter goal at $25,000 as it is the support needed to cover minimal payments for our very talented film editor, colorist, original music composer, post production producer and translator. The more help we get for this part of the project, the more time we can put into the post production process and the stronger the final film can be.
THANKS TO OUR AMAZING PARTNERS:
Please note that the experience prizes that have estimated delivery dates are estimated dates only. We will be in contact to work out the logistics and timings that work out for the purchaser and the chocolate maker.
For the prizes that have your choice of chocolate company, once the item is purchased we will be in touch to see what your preference is and if it is still available.
Good karma and infinite gratitude for supporting our project and being a part of the cacao sustainability movement. We will personally thank you and send you updates on our progress.
$25 Paquete de Colección de Bonbon Peruano
Peru- Premio Internacional de Chocolates Eva Prime Chocolate. Nuestros maravillosos socios de Perú se enfocan en crear experiencias a través del chocolate y conectar a las personas al chocolate mas fino del mundo.
Peru only- Three packs of an assortment of International Chocolate Award winning chocolates from Dreams of Eva Prime Chocolate. Our amazing partners in Peru focus on creating experiences through chocolate and connecting people around the finest cacao in the world.
$45 Specialty Chocolate Combination Pack
US Only- This exclusive pack includes one delicious chocolate bar each from the chocolate makers featured in the film: Raaka Chocolate, Parliament Chocolate, French Broad Chocolates, Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate and Dandelion Chocolate.
$50 Australian Chocolate Pack
Australia Only- This special combination pack comes from one of the best bean to bar and ethically sourced chocolate companies in Australia: The Smooth Chocolator. Try cacao that is grown in Australia with this 5 chocolate bar pack.
$50 Bread, Wine and Chocolate Book Signed Copy
Bread, Wine and Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love is an inspiring book written by award winning journalist Simran Sethi. This book explores the loss of biodiversity from soil to plate – tells the story of what we are losing, how we are losing it, and the inspiring people and places that are bringing back the foods we love.
Your book will be personally signed by Ms. Sethi.
$100 Three-month Subscription of Chocolate Products from the Featured Chocolate Maker of your Choice.
US Only- The perfect choice for adventurous chocolate lovers: receive freshly made and creatively flavored bars of small-batch chocolate sent straight to your doorstep every month. Full subscription includes 9-12 bars over three months, varies depending on package put together by the chocolate makers themselves. You can choose between Raaka Chocolate or Parliament Chocolate.
$150 Private Tour with Factory Owner
This reward will offer you and up to 3 friends a chance to be a part of an exclusive private tour with the chocolate maker of your choice (Raaka Chocolate in Brooklyn, Parliament Chocolate in Redlands, Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate in Atlanta, or Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco). Experience varies depending on the chocolate maker.
$400 Private Chocolate Tasting Experience
New York Only- Enjoy a private chocolate tasting experience in the location of your choosing for up to 8 people with Nate Hodge, master sourcer and chocolate maker at Raaka Chocolate.
$600 Chocolate Maker for a Day
Spend the day working directly with the owner of the factory with this one-time offer to learn from the master chocolate makers themselves. Experience will vary depending on the chocolate maker of your choice, but duties may include sorting, roasting, cracking, and winnowing cocoa beans; melanging and conching nibs; tempering the chocolate to professional perfection; and wrapping the finished bars that you helped to create. (Raaka Chocolate in Brooklyn, Parliament Chocolate in Redlands or Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco). Experience varies depending on the chocolate maker.
$600 Make your own Customized Bars
Atlanta Only- Choose your own ingredients that you would like to see sprinkled on your customized chocolate bar while working with the owners of Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate; then print your personalized chocolate recipe on a custom wrapper with your name printed on them. Go home with 20 of your exclusive bars to share with friends and other chocolate lovers alike.
$2,000 Private Food and Mezcal Tour of Oaxaca, Mexico with the filmmakers
Join the filmmakers in the food capital of Mexico for 5 days and explore the amazing and colorful city that inspired the film. On this trip, you will learn about authentic Oaxacan high end and street food, explore the importance of sustainability in mezcal and be able too see how chocolate is made and used in Latin America. All expenses included besides flights.
$4,000 Full Bean to Bar Experience
The ultimate chocolate experience! Travel on a sourcing trip with either Nate Hodge from Raaka Chocoalte or Greg D'Assandre from Dandelion Chocolate to a country such as Ecuador, Belize, Brazil, or the Dominican Republic. See how cacao is grown, cultivated, harvested and fermented. Learn how the chocolate makers determine which beans they will use for next season's batches. Once the beans that you found have been shipped, join the chocolate maker from your journey to create the your unique chocolate bar. All expenses are included besides flights, and the country will be chosen by the chocolate maker depending on timing and needs of the chocolate company.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INCREDIBLE SUPPORT AND COMING ALONG THIS JOURNEY WITH US.
Find out more information at www.settingthebarfilm.com
Risks and challenges
Film projects are often difficult to finance and produce and SETTING THE BAR is no exception. We're dealing with multiple countries, numerous stakeholders and an industry that really wants to see this film made.
But the good news is: our team has already put in a lot of the work, we only have a few pieces left to drop in place. We have built a team around us of exemplary industry professionals with proven track records of finishing on time and on budget.
More importantly, we have a realistic budget for the last steps of production based on the team's years of film experience. If we can raise our target goal amount, we are confident that we can bring this film to completion in a timely manner, and present a film that we, the farmers, chocolate makers and chocolate eaters can be proud of.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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