Documentary filmmaker, Michelle Aguilar, film screening of El Cacao and Q&A 

Date & Time:
Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 1:15 p.m.

Join us for a film screening of El Cacao and Q&A with producer, director and editor, Michelle Aguilar

Synopsis of El Cacao: In the lush rainforest of Bocas del Toro, Panama, an indigenous cacao farmer, his wife and grandchildren confront environmental and economic complexities as they grow, harvest and sell cacao beans for a global chocolate market. Does Fair Trade Certification really work? Documenting the exceptional wisdom, unconditional devotion and proven ancient farming techniques of one hard-working Ngäbe farmer, Samuel Murillo, El Cacao complicates the question by examining the fairness of his trade. 

El Cacao exposes the dark side of chocolate production in Latin America by examining the economics of Fair Trade from the point of view of the indigenous farmers as they attempt to sustain their community through the growth, harvest, and trade of cacao beans in the global market. This 20-minute documentary film highlights the life of an indigenous Ngäbe farmer in Panama and his unconditional devotion to this so-called “superfood.”  The film threads together the themes of neoliberal ideology, human rights, and the economics of the chocolate industry.  While the demand for chocolate in developed nations continues to raise, the farmers in developing countries, like Panama, are rarely awarded the economic incentive promised to them. 

The film utilizes cinema vérité techniques with candid interviews.  Most of the film hinges on intimate shots in personal working and living space within a small Ngäbe community in the Bocas del Toro region of Panama. 

Languages: Spanish with English Subtitles

Subjects: Anthropology, Economics, Globalization, Indigenous Studies, Latin American Studies, Sociology, Agriculture, Cultural geography


This event will be hosted in collaboration with Professor Jason Jakaitis' Video Production class 

el cacao