Among the various month-long eventful community-enriching activities at the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, the one that is gaining most popularity is the outdoor screenings of thought-provoking films on weekends at the Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village.
For the first time in the Middle East, the award-winning documentary, The Chocolate War, will be premiered at the free-to-attend Festival on February 18, 2023, at 8pm. An eye-opening documentary by Director and journalist, Miki Mistrati, the film sheds light on child slavery in the cocoa and chocolate industry.
Director Mistrati says, "My journey started in 2007 in a local supermarket. I was a random consumer looking for chocolate. The supermarket was full of various brands and flavors. On one of the shelves, I found seven chocolate bars from the same company, but with seven different flavors, tastes, and colors: one was with nuts, one with almonds, one with dark chocolate, and one with white chocolate. But I noticed that one was also labeled 'fairtrade'. I wondered, what would the six other chocolate bars be if only one was fairtrade? Were they unfair trade? That was the beginning of my long journey as a journalist and filmmaker, researching and investigating this industry that, as I quickly learned, was full of illegal child labour, child trafficking, and violation of international laws.
"I also learned that nobody within the industry cared, that they were turning a blind eye to what was going on – or trying to cover up a major problem with, for example, poor schooling programmes available to only a small group of children."
The Chocolate War has been nominated for a Cinema for Peace Award, for Best Documentary at Warsaw International Film Festival, selected for the Human Rights Film Festival in Berlin, Toronto Food Festival, nominated as Best TV documentary at Rai's Prix Italia, and more.
Human rights lawyer, Terry Collingsworth, the documentary's protagonist, is working hard to bring justice to the chocolate industry. An international impact campaign for The Chocolate War is now launched to create worldwide awareness on child slavery in the cocoa and chocolate industry and engage consumers and decision-makers to act and care for a sustainable supply chain.
Following the screening of the documentary at RAKFAF, a group of panelists will discuss the ethical sourcing of cocoa. The panelists include Miki Mistrati, Producer/Director of the film; Mette Bjerregaard, Impact Producer at Made In Copenhagen, and Iman Suguitan, Co-founder of Co Chocolat, a UAE based, ethically sourced chocolate company, at 9:30pm on February 18, 2023, at the Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village.
For more details on the outdoor film screenings at RAKFAF, visit: https://www.rakfinearts.ae/film-screenings