Directed by MICHAEL ALLCOCK
Chocolate is the most popular candy on earth. We think of it as decadent, sensual, and romantic.
But chocolate’s story isn’t all sunshine and sweetness. SEMISWEET: LIFE IN CHOCOLATE traces the stories of four very different groups of people on three continents whose lives are intrinsically wrapped up in the complex world of chocolate. Although their paths have never directly crossed, the lives of all these people are interwoven through their unique and personal relationship with chocolate. It’s a world that, seen altogether, is “semisweet”.
SEMISWEET takes us from the hyper-commercial chocolate company town of Hershey, Pennsylvania to the frozen lakes of Ontario’s cottage country, and from the busy streets of ultra-chic Paris to the heat of the impoverished West African countryside of Cote D?Ivoire, as we follow the unique journeys of people whose lives have been transformed, each in quite distinct ways, by chocolate.
Filmmaker Michael Allcock, a multiple Gemini Award nominee for both writing and directing: “Chocolate is more than just something you bite into. It can change who you are, what you do, and where you live. It can change the way you see the world. It might even save your life.”
Near Haliburton, Ontario, husband-and-wife team Ron and Nadine are grinding and roasting cacao beans in the manner of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs, who considered cacao to be a magical, divine, healing substance – the Food of the Gods. The couple creates unique handmade chocolates they believe can save the planet and even beyond. So far, Woody Harrelson and Sting are among the believers amongst many others.
In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Jonathan fancies himself a modern-day Charlie in the chocolate factory. For this 4th generation Hershey employee who lives in a house wedged between the Hershey factory and the Hershey zoo and where the city air smells like chocolate 24/7 every day is Valentine’s Day.
In West Africa, Noufou and Mamoutou are considered lucky. Recently, they both came back from working on the cacao plantations in Côte d’Ivoire that supply the world with over 35% of its chocolate. Why are they considered lucky? Because they came back alive. And would you believe neither has ever tasted chocolate ever?!
Meanwhile, in Paris, world-renowned chocolatier Patrick Roger is busy creating his latest masterpiece – a 150-pound chocolate sculpture of an orangutan that he hopes will raise public awareness and can save the rain forests of Borneo.
By turns poignant, tragic, quirky and darkly humorous, and always perceptive, informative and engaging, SEMISWEET: LIFE IN CHOCOLATE offers a global glimpse at a diverse group of people whose lives have all been transformed in quite different ways by the sweet confection we crave. The elements of sweetness and bitterness in that story mirror the semisweet nature of chocolate itself.
One thing seems certain: after seeing SEMISWEET you’ll never feel quite the same about chocolate.
SEMISWEET: LIFE IN CHOCOLATE is the documentary part of a larger transmedia project called “Choco-Locate” which includes an iPhone app and mobile website that helps consumers locate chocolate according to their preferences. The website http://choco-locate.com/ extends the viewing experience through articles, facts and background blogs about the making of the documentary.