As I mentioned in my last blog, Celia Palli has composed a wonderful song to promote Cuppa Change, and it was so wonderful that talk turned from just recording the Cuppa Change song to actually shooting a music video. All were agreed that this was fine, fine idea.
The very next phone call I made was to the wonderful, multi-talented Arlene Hazzan Green.
Arlene and I met at the Canadian Film Centre and have been friends ever since. Arlene is an accomplished, Emmy Award-winning director, and so of course she is my first thought for director of, well, anything.
What makes Arlene so right for the Cuppa Change music video is that she is not only a great TV and film director, but she, too, is working towards changing the world. We do it one cuppa coffee at a time – Arlene does it one garden at a time.
As well as working in the TV business, Arlene and her husband Marc Green own a company called BUFCO, which stands for Backyard Urban Farm Company. They design, build, install and maintain organic vegetable gardens for homes, schools, corporate spaces, daycares and retirement facilities. They will set you up in your own backyard – no matter how big or small – with raised garden beds. They’ll help you plant, grow and learn about your own urban farm. They are part of a worldwide food movement that encourages lowering the carbon footprint and trying to live more sustainably, naturally, independently and locally.
Arlene was partly interested in helping Cuppa Change because she sees a similarity between what our two organizations are doing. Just as BUFCO helps people learn where their food comes from and helps people have a relationship with their farmer (especially if it is themselves!), Cuppa Change helps people learn where their coffee comes from. It is in fact a mandate of the fair trade movement to create long-term trading relationships, so that farmers and consumers know one another. This means that the coffee supplier here (in our case, Alternative Grounds), knows the coffee farmer or co-op whenever it purchases coffee. And both parties work under traceable and transparent conditions and agreements, so that anyone – the farmer, the purchaser, even the coffee drinker – can trace where coffee comes from, and can look at the agreements under which that coffee was purchased. Check out the Fair Trade Proof website, which helps you do just that.
Arlene said she’d be delighted to direct the Cuppa Change music video. And she knew just the person to do the sound recording and editing: the multi-talented Shawn Hook-Carleton. Shawn brought on a great cameraman, Jake Vincent, who gave us a Saturday between shoots on the show Rookie Blue. Meanwhile, Celia Palli, our composer, brought her old friend Juan Valencia on board, to record the song. Juan is a great recording engineer and music producer.
Suddenly, we were really and truly on our way. A Cuppa Change song had been written. Musicians had been found. Crew had been found. And our recording date with Juan was booked.
I’ll tell you about that next time.