2017 Hot Docs ‘Cafe-Nation’

CAFE-NATION THE SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT CUP directed and produced by Laura O’Grady and edited by Jordan Bosch is not only a fascinating tale of the art of coffee making at the highest level but an intimate and compelling story of Ben Put, Canada’s National Barista Champion, and his quest and determination to win the 2016 World Barista Championships in Dublin, Ireland.

If you are a coffee aficionado like me who appreciates crafted coffee beverages, you will love watching CAFE-NATIONI loved the opening shot of Ben preparing a hand crafted coffee beverage.  The close ups of freshly grounded coffee, of crystal clear water filling a carafe against a white background, of the dark rich expresso coffee liquor filling a shot glass, and the final drink, a cappuccino, were intoxicating.  The film is an exciting look at the behind the scenes world of Canada’s national champion as he prepares for and competes in the world barista championships.

O’Grady does an excellent job creating a poignant documentary of her protagonist, Ben Put, interspersing first person interviews of Ben at home, at his cafe Monogram Coffee, preparing for competition, in competition, with third person interviews with his wife Tara, his business partners, and Mike Strumpf, Director of Coffee Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company, and including her subject’s reactions and commentary as the world barista competition unfolds.  Her use of time lapse, close ups, medium shots and wide angle shots which are beautifully shot by Phil Harrison, the Director of Photography, enriches the film adding layers of complexity.  I loved too the cut aways of Dublin and general scenes from the event itself and the shots of the other competitors which situated the story in a context of time and place.  Bosch does an excellent job editing the film creating fluidity, excitement, and backstory as it moves from Dublin, Ireland to Calgary, Alberta to Vancouver, BC to Calgary, Alberta, to Dublin, Ireland and finally back to Calgary where we see Ben at his cafe preparing a hand crafted coffee beverage with his trophy prominently on display on the counter.

CAFE-NATION is a labour of love and a testament not only to Ben Put but to all baristas of the world who bring their ‘A’ game to elevating the art of coffee making and hand crafting coffee beverages for us to savour and enjoy!  Do see it for you won’t be disappointed.

Cafe- Nation will be playing at various theatres:

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 on May 2 @ 8:15 p.m.
Scotiabank Theatre 7 on May 4 @ 3:30 p.m.
Scotiabank Theatre 13 on May 7 @ 9:15 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased here!

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