(In order of film duration)
Films are great educational tools, offering viewers opportunities to better understand the ways in which products are grown and/or processed. More importantly, the films below exhibit the strong connections that we have with those who make the goods we use and the food we eat.
FTRN says: “The film illustrates how small-scale coffee farmers, even if active in FLO’s Fair Trade Certification system, in Latin America go hungry, get insufficient nutrition, and increase personal debt 3-8 months of the year. A recent survey of small-scale coffee farmers in Central and South America found two-thirds of the farmers saying they were hungry during ’the thin months’, after the harvest. Apparently this food insecurity is widely unknown in the global coffee industry.”
Summary/Review: This documentary was created to accompany a Consumers International report: “A short film that brings the day-to-day challenges of ‘the thin months’ to life in the voices of coffee farmers from Mexico and elsewhere. Stories show the successes of creative projects that have been established to eliminate this annual period of food insecurity.”
See or download the film at After the Harvest
Lutheran World Relief ~ 22 min ~ 2009 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “This accessible video gives a good introduction to the coffee process and how Fair Trade makes a difference for farmers and the environment.”
Summary/Review: Video explains that consumers can do right by Nicaraguan farmers by purchasing Fair Trade coffee like Equal Exchange, partner of the Lutheran World Relief Coffee project.
Watch it online, OR get a free DVD by calling 1-800-LWR-LWR-2.
Organic Consumers Association ~ 30 minutes ~ 2005 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “This film explains the effects of the Fair Trade and Organic movements in the coffee market.”
Summary/Review: The documentary film introduces viewers to the people who are producers and consumers of the most traded commodity in the world after oil- coffee. From the point of view of the narrator, who one day wonders about the impact of his morning cup, we learn about the powerful and promising sustainability efforts of the rapidly growing Fair Trade and Organic movement.
To acquire the film, contact the Organic Consumers Association.
John De Graaf ~ 55 minutes ~ 2006 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “This high quality documentary offers a balanced look into product certification – of Fair Trade coffee and timber – and the essential role it plays in today’s global economy.”
Summary/Review: Buyer Be Fair takes viewers to Mexico, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, the USA and Canada to explore how conscious consumers and businesses can use the market to promote social justice and environmental sustainability through product labeling, with a focus on Fair Trade coffee and Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. This television special reaches beyond the choir to present the promise of product certification to a wide audience.
Old Dog Documentaries ~ 56 minutes ~ 2005 ~ General Audiences and Academic Settings
FTRN says: “Birdsong and Coffee is a high-quality, moving and informative documentary exhibiting the interdependence of producers, consumers, and the ecosystem.”
Summary/Review: Birdsong and Coffee uses a series of interviews to communicate the sincere, respectful relationship that exists through Fair Trade among the parties involved in coffee production. In this film we hear from experts and students, from coffee lovers and bird lovers, and-most importantly-from coffee farmers themselves. We learn how their lives and ours are inextricably linked, economically and environmentally.
Mark and Nick Francis ~ 77 minutes ~ 2005 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “This documentary has captured the dilemma of the coffee farmer: how to get a fair price for quality coffee in a market that is set up only to make money for powerful international traders in cities far from the farm.”
Summary/Review: Black Gold follows Tadesse Meskela, the leader of an Ethiopian coffee cooperative, on his travels through Africa and around the world seeking a fair price for the coffee grown by cooperative members before they are forced to declare bankruptcy. Meskela travels to London and Seattle in an attempt to find a coffee buyer willing to pay a fair price, while the film documents the enormous power of world coffee traders and the double-dealing of trade ministers during World Trade Organization talks.
(In order of film duration)
TransFair USA ~ 8 minutes ~ 2006 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “Produced by TransFair USA, this short film provides an excellent overview of Fair Trade certification – how it works, what it does, and what it means to producers around the world.”
Summary/Review: TransFair USA talks with farmers in countries of origin to understand how Fair Trade has benefitted them personally, allowing them to send their children to school or to work without chemicals. The producers also talk to retailers in the United States to understand the power of the consumer to effect change just by paying attention to the products they buy every day.
Mark Batey ~ 9 minutes ~ 2007 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “Produced in the UK, this short presents a colorful look into the process of getting Fair Trade products from villages to warehouses to retail outlets, following a volunteer as she looks at the process firsthand.”
Summary/Review: A Traidcraft volunteer gets a chance to meet a group of women in Bangladesh who produce some of the goods she sells. She discovers that Fair Trade has empowered communities like the one she visits where community members have installed proper sanitation facilities, better housing, schools, and proper meals. The film also highlights the way Fair Trade has contributed to women claiming their voice in their community.
Sinclair Enterprises ~ 23 minutes (plus 2 hrs. extra) ~ 2005 ~ High school and above
FTRN says: “This film evidences the power of Fair Trade businesses to radically improve people’s lives. As with many Fair Trade businesses, Freeset offers training, literacy, community, fun and support for vulnerable people. An inspirational and empowering film showing the many roles people play and benefits they get in a jute bag business.”
Summary/Review: The Hiltons are just your average Kiwi family, but the textile manufacturing business they have established is anything but average. Located on the fringes of Calcutta’s largest red-light district, it gives the women of the area something they have long been denied – the option of leaving the sex trade. “Calcutta Hilton” tells the story of this inspirational business.
H. Bruce Wilson and Partners for Just Trade ~ 33 minutes ~ 2009 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “This video is most useful for showing the impact of Fair Trade on producers’ lives. It also is one of the few films that introduces how Fair Trade works in the world of commodities (like chocolate and coffee) as well as in handcrafts, with a special focus on the lives of handcraft artisans in Peru.”
Summary/Review: This film shows real life examples of the Fair Trade Federation’s principles for Fair Trade Organizations. A second version on the same DVD can be used with a Bible study program.
By Miki Mistrati and U. Robert Romano~ 45 minutes ~ 2010 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “This video is most useful for showing the horrors of child labor and trafficked children in W. African cocoa farms that supply major corporations and brands. It also demonstrates the lack of interest by major corporations to solutions like Fair Trade.”
Summary/Review: This film goes undercover to Mali and Ivory Coast to document child trafficking, forced labor and other worst forms of child labor that should have been eliminated under the Cocoa Protocol signed by major chocolate industry groups in 2001. It also shows footage of major chocolate company executives in Europe uninterested in the transgressions and solutions presented by the film.
See trailer and background at The Dark Side of Chocolate
Buy DVD and screening kit from Green America
Comic Relief ~ Multiple lengths ~ 2005 ~ Children
FTRN says: “Recommended for its appeal to audiences of all levels, including children.”
Summary/Review: This DVD accompanies a series of educational tools and photographs produced for British schoolteachers to aid in teaching primary school children about Fair Trade and Ghanaian cocoa growers. “Pa Pa Paa” is an informative film presenting facts about the process of harvesting, processing and selling cocoa.
Sheila C. Johnson ~ 80 minutes ~ 2009 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “This film focuses on women’s issues in the developing world, which are an important part of the Fair Trade issue. One of the three women protagonists in the film starts a Fair Trade agricultural cooperative to provide employment to widows of the Bosnian War. An inspirational and empowering film .”
Summary/Review: Hanh is an HIV-positive widow in Vietnam. Nada is a survivor of the Bosnian war. And Jacqueline works the slums of Bamako, Mali. Three very different lives. Three vastly different worlds. But they share something in common: Power. These women are each overcoming gender barriers to rise up and claim a voice in their societies. Through their empowerment and ability to empower others, Hanh, Nada and Jacqueline are sparking remarkable changes.
Bill Haney~ 90 minutes ~ 2007 ~ General Audience
FTRN says: “This award-winning film shows the efforts to bring Fair Trade to Haiti and exposes the conditions of developing countries without Fair Trade practices.”
Summary/Review: Narrated by Paul Newman, “The Price of Sugar” follows Father Christopher Hartley, a charismatic Spanish priest, as he organizes some of this hemisphere’s poorest people to fight for their basic human rights. This film raises key questions about where the products we consume originate and at what human cost they are produced.
More Fair Trade videos are available on YouTube.
Just a few YouTube videos to recommend:
The CEO of Fair Trade USA, Paul Rice, explains how Fair Trade impacts farmers and workers.
This minute and a half video features a man trying to get change. When people don’t have enough change to repay the man in full, they are unwilling to exchange with him even though he doesn’t mind. It is an interesting analogy to FT prices worldwide, since 86% of people wouldn’t make an unfair trade.
This video by GreenTV explains the process of FT approval for coffee growers in Uganda. Through interviews, it shows the positive effects in the lives of Ugandan coffee growers.
This is a really interesting video about a Fair Trade fashion company. It interviews the founder and other employees, who explain why their work is positive and different from other clothing companies.
Made by TransFair USA, this is the story of one farmer. He discusses the challenges in getting a fair price for coffee and the effects of switching to FT coffee.
This is a really well put together video, with lots of interviews from leaders of the FT movement and some celebrities. For a 10 min. video, it deals with lots of the issues, like food security and the role of international organizations.
Trade Aid does a good job in this video explaining what is Fair Trade and why it works in the developing world. It discusses the problems with international trade regulations and gives the history of their organization.