The Bucknell University Environmental Center's spring Green Screens documentary film series continues with a showing of "Black Gold" on Tuesday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg.
The screening, which is sponsored by Weis Markets, will be preceded by a tasting reception featuring fair-trade coffees and chocolates in the theatre's lobby at 7 p.m. Attendees can taste a variety of fair-trade coffees donated by Weis Markets; coffee from a cooperative in Nicaragua that partners with the Bucknell Brigade, a university-based service organization; and several flavors of fair-trade-certified chocolate from Seattle-based Theo and U.K.-based Green & Black, donated by The Natural Food and Garden Store.
Directed by Marc and Nick Francis, the 2006 documentary explores the international coffee trade and its ramifications for growers. "Black Gold" focuses on the coffee growers of the Oromia Region of southern and western Ethiopia, and follows Tadesse Meskela, the general manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, as he visits coffee-growing regions in Sidamo and Oromia, as well as a coffee processing center, a coffee auction house, and his union's headquarters in Addis Ababa. He also travels to England and the United States in an effort to promote Ethiopian coffee by eliminating the numerous middlemen.
The film includes footage of the New York Board of Trade, a commodity trading floor where the "C" international benchmark price of coffee is set each business day based on supply and demand, and it explores the effects that these international prices have on Ethiopian coffee growers. Other footage was shot at the first Starbucks and the World Barista Championship at the 2005 Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in Seattle, and at a caf and the Illy coffee company in Trieste, Italy. These scenes stand in stark contrast to the footage of the impoverished conditions faced by the Ethiopian coffee farmers and their families.
The final film in the Green Screens series will be shown April 23. "Burning in the Sun," a 2010 documentary by Cambria Matlow and Morgan Robinson, relates the story of 26-year-old Daniel Dembl who returns to his homeland in Mali to start a local business building solar panels, the first of its kind in the sun-drenched nation. Dina El-Mogazi, director of the BUEC Campus Greening Initiative, will lead a post-screening discussion.
For more information about Weis Markets' Sustainability Mission, visit www.weismarkets.com/about-weis/sustainability/