5Q's w/Lauren Schwartzman & Emily Thomas "Dry Roast" Directors

Dry Roast (9 min)
dir: Lauren Schwartzman, Emily Thomas

Lauren Schwartzman headshot.jpg

#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

In the highlands of Guatemala, two sisters fight to keep their coffee farms and families alive in the face of climate change. It’s the vital story behind your cup of coffee.

Emily Thomas Headshot.png

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

The coffee that these two women and their cooperative grow could end up in your cup – it’s of the highest quality and is exported around the world to roasters like Stumptown and Allegro. But the impacts of climate change are decimating their farms and threatening their livelihoods. This spurs more migration to the U.S., particularly of young people – which means families are broken and there may be no one to grow coffee in the future.

#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.
Lauren Schwartzman and Emily Thomas are master’s candidates in the documentary film program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. 
Emily has worked for Jigsaw Productions and is a freelance video journalist and independent documentary filmmaker. She is also currently an investigator for the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley. She was previously a senior journalist for Storyful covering breaking news both domestic and international. Prior to Storyful, she was a news editor and staff writer for The Huffington Post. Her written work and video work has been published in VICE, POV, and Esquire.
Lauren has worked for Pureland Pictures and New Day Films. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama from 2013-2015. In 2013, her short documentary, The Urban Forest: San Luis Obispo, CA, won Best Documentary Film under 30 minutes and Best Film under 30 minutes in the Central Coast Filmmakers portion of the SLO International Film Festival

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?
Good local help is essential, especially for an international piece  – we can’t thank our local guides enough. And as much as you prepare ahead of time, things will change once you’re on the ground and you have to be able to flow with that. In the edit, we learned the value of having a small number of compelling characters – and how to let go of those who don’t make the final cut.

#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

We’d like to publish “Dry Roast” on an online news platform so that the story can reach as many people as possible. The two of us are also each working on 25-minute master’s thesis documentary films that will be released in May 2018.

Matthew NothelferComment