We're taking it back to April of 2014 in Seattle for the annual SCAA event for this one!
I wasn't aware of the film coming out or being shown during the weekend of the event; besides the possible spurge article or a mass email sent by the event which I glanced at. However, at the event and between barista competition presentations they showed the enticing trailer for the film which had its world premier on a Saturday night. This struck up an interest to see it, but it wasn't until my friend Bill suggested we actually all go that it started to become a reality.
We piled into the Fiat 500 that Sean and I rented for the weekend and drove through the rainy downtown streets in search of the theater after a brief pizza and beer at Kuma's Roastery. We found the indoor shopping center and went to the top floor for the theater. As we entered we were greeted at a booth run by Stumptown where they were making chemex brewed coffee. They informed us that the coffee they were serving would be the same coffee that we would be seeing getting harvested and processed in the film. I couldn't even wrap my head around that thought. It was so rad that it was a life changing experience before the movie even started.
Of course all the "coffee celebrities" were out and all the homies came through so there was a great atmosphere in the audience. I have maybe seen the film once or twice online since and there are parts of it that still stick out so vividly from the first time. The amazing cinematography, the geographical shots, the women picking cherries, the short history of coffee consumption, Stumptown getting water to the producers, workers dancing and singing on fermenting coffee, people biking sacks of cherries up the mountain, cupping with producers, the coffee cultures of the far east, and Kevin Bohlin making espresso and filter coffee for farmers. The film is also star studded with pros I was familiar with like Kyle Glanville, Michael Phillips, and Eileen Rinaldi. Yet, It was also the first time I saw what George Howell looked like and it introduced me to Darrin Daniel.
After the movie there was definitely a feeling of revolution, the audience's vibe felt bewildered, and at the end the producers and "coffee celebrities" in the movie answered questions. The biggest take-aways from their answers were the importance of producers tasting their own and different coffees, giving them enough financial incentive to continue their work, and trying to convey all this through our businesses. It's a movie that you feel as though you need to share with everyone right after you see it. So, when a few of us came back from Seattle to Phoenix we really wanted to organize a showing.
It was hard to see city after city premier this awesome film in some really cool ways and not see it happening in Phoenix. Especially because I kind of sort of felt that Phoenix might "deserve" a showing more than some of these other cities. After getting in touch with the film's producers and getting all the info we needed to get rolling it began to get super complicated. We needed a certain amount of money, a certain projector, major companies involved, a venue, and good marketing. It was hard to get all these things into place for a tiny group of people who all had their own priorities. Because of this struggle, I am so happy to see that Cartel is finally able to make it happen. It is an important experience for many people in Phoenix and for the city in general. Way to go, Cartel, for making something that was so difficult for me and others to organize turn into a reality.
Buy tickets for the film, Q&A, and accompanying tastings on Friday - June 5th at 6pm here http://cartelcoffeelab.com/afilmaboutcoffee