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All in this Tea

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School Bd/College/University DVD: $305


Grade Level: JrH-Adult
Producer: Bullfrog Films
Closed Captioned: Yes
Running Time: 70 mins
Country of Origin: United States
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2007
Available in French: No

The latest film from distinguished documentarian Les Blank, in collaboration with co-director Gina Leibrecht, follows American tea importer David Lee Hoffman to some of the most remote regions of China in search of the world's finest teas.

Hoffman is obsessed; during his youth he spent four years with Tibetan monks in Nepal, which included a friendship with the Dalai Lama, and was introduced to some of the finest of teas. Unable to find anything but insipid tea bags in the U.S., Hoffman began traveling to China, the homeland of tea. There, he struggles against language barriers and Byzantine business codes to convince the Chinese that the farmers make better tea than the factories and that their craft should be honored and preserved.
This craft can not be learned from a book, but has been handed down through generations of tea makers for thousands of years. He drags the reluctant tea factory aficionados up a lush, terraced mountainside and brings them face to face with those "dirty" farmers. In an ironic twist, Hoffman reintroduces them to one of their country's oldest traditions.
But Hoffman is even a step ahead of his own country in that he is advocating "fair trade" and organics. Images of the farmers standing on urban street corners selling a week's harvest for three dollars, in the shadow of China's increasing number of high rises, illustrate the paradox that stepping into the modern world imposes.
Tea experts James Norwood Pratt, Gaetano Kazuo Maida, and Winnie W. Yu provide the fundamentals of tea, lending weight to Hoffman's endeavor.

In my human geography and development studies classes, students often begin to despair at the unevenness of development in the world today and the unfairness of big business and corruption. In this film, David Lee Hoffman, an ecologically aware American tea importer, provides an antidote, advocating the development of fair trade with small scale organic tea producers in rural, mountainous China. Hoffman does a great deal to raise awareness in the West about the rich tradition of tea in China. The film nicely encapsulates his efforts to both promote tea more widely and to rejuvenate the long Chinese tradition of growing high quality, artisanal tea."
- Sarah Turner, Associate Professor of Geography, McGill University

"All in This Tea provides an intriguing look at agricultural and business practices in China. Highly recommended for collections with an interest in food studies, and more generally recommended for use in anthropology, studies on modern China, environmental science, and business studies."
- Kim Stanton, University of North Texas Libraries, Educational Media Reviews Online

One of "10 Best Food Documentaries of All Time" PasteMagazine.com

Screened at:
  • Berlin International Film Festival
  • San Francisco International Film Festival
  • Hot Docs
  • International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA)
  • Sydney International Film Festival
  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
  • Denver International Film Festival
  • Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
  • DokFest, Munich
  • United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford
  • Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal (RIDM)
  • DOCNZ, New Zealand International Documentary Film Festival
  • Woods Hole Film Festival
  • Green Mountain Film Festival

Links: www.allinthistea.com/

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