Full House for The Golden Harvest Debut at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival

The Golden Harvest (2019, 85 min) made its debut on March 4, 2019 at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival to a full house.  The screening was followed by a lively Q & A that continued onto the pier along the fabulous arthouse area of the city where the majority of the festival takes place.

Greeks have the highest consumption of olive oil in the world, so it is no surprise that the audience reacted with tears and laughter to The Golden Harvest, which weaves the 6,000-year old love story between the people of the Mediterranean and their olive trees through personal tales in Palestine, Greece, Italy, Spain and Israel, including that of the filmmaker’s father.

“We are delighted that the film debuted in Thessaloniki, one of the top 10 international film festivals, and in a country where part of the film was shot,” says Alia Yunis, the director/writer.

The Golden Harvest is not just a foodie film, although there is plenty for foodies to savor, including learning from one of the top tasters in the world how to evaluate oil. But through a unique cast of characters, the film tackles the social and political dimensions of olive trees, including environmental issues, war, globalization, the European Union, marketing and branding, and Fair Trade, all of which impact this genie in a bottle.

“After seeing this film, I changed my mind about selling my family’s olive trees,” one audience member announced during the Q & A. 

Alia was joined on stage for the Q & A by Pavlos Georgiadis, who is the youngest farmer in Makkri, his village in the Thrace region of northeastern Greece.  His family is one of the many families that the film introduces to viewers.

“This film was inspired by my dad’s love of the olive tree, and I started noticing when talking to others with roots in the Mediterranean that the mention of olive oil opens up their souls and uncorks to their own heritage,” Alia says. “We shot over 80 hours of footage over four years, and the stories just kept coming.  This is just a taste of all this tree can tell us about ourselves.”

The film is next schedules to play at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival in April.

For further information, please contact info@goldenharvestfilm.org  and/or visit www.goldenharvestfilm.org 

To contribute to the financing still needed for the marketing and distribution of the film, please visit the non-profit, UNESCO member NGO collecting funding for the film: https://www.heritage-activities.org/food-and-heritage  All individuals and institutions who donate receive a mention in the thanks, as well as their logo in the credits, if desired.

Thessaloniki Q & A. with Alia Yunis & Pavlos Georgiadis

Thessaloniki International Film Festival March 4 & March 5

Thessaloniki International Film Festival March 4 & March 5

See you in Thessaloniki!

See you in Thessaloniki

We are delighted to announce that The Golden Harvest will have its world premier at the Thessaloniki International Festival. We are honored to be selected to be part of this great festival. Not to mention that it is the country with highest per capita consumption of olive oil in the world. And in a country that we filmed in. And that three of the crew members are from —Dimitris Kanellopoulos, who did the location sound, and Alex Asplind, second camera everywhere but Thrace, and Theo Geront, second camera in Thrace.

A documentary film involves so many people—and we had an incredible group in five countries. And so many people who offered their help tirelessly, like Diana Farr Louis in Athens, and great musicians who let us their music—Marcel Khalife, Ali Jihad Racy, Enzo Fina, Alkis Zopoglou, and Omar Bashir. And it was all brought together with new music from Osama Abdul Rasool. In the end, it comes down to the director and the editor, in this case producer Jaime Estrada-Torres. We hope you enjoy the trip to the olive trees!

Filming at Monte Testaccio

Salmorejo Means Summer

Recently I was in Seville with my nephew.  It was his first time in Spain.  He's a major carnivore, so I thought jamon would be a revelation to him.  I ordered it for him that first day, opting for salmorejo for myself, as I don't eat jamon.   The jamon stayed on the plate, and I despite my best efforts, I could not keep the salmorejo to myself once he'd tried it.  It became part of breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The same thing happened when we were filming in Spain.  The crew just wanted salmorejo, the emblematic dish of Andalusia, a simplified gazpacho with a lot more olive oil!   You'll learn a lot about salmorejo in the film, but before that, here's the recipe from my friend Ana in Granada.  She's in the film for a bit, and she showed my nephew how to make salmorejo while we stayed with her this summer: 

Salmorejo recipe

Ingredients:

1 kg (around 2 .2 1bs—no need to be specific) of perfectly ripe tomatos, roughly cut.

100 grs. White bread country style, day old (one big French baguette)

½ C. extra virgin olive oil

1 clove peeled garlic (more than enough!)

Salt to Taste

2 T. apple cider vinegar  (you might like a little more or less)

Preparation:

Wash and roughly cut the tomatoes.  Process in the blender into juice.  After that, you can put through sieve to remove seeds and skin.  Remember, only to get a special texture, but will not change the flavor,and in my opinion is a waste of time.  In the blender, add the bread, tornup, olive oil, garlic and salt. Decorate with chopped boiled egg and Serrano jamon cut in small cubes or cucumbers (my option).   It tastes better if it sits in fridge for a few hours first.  You can eat cold or at room temperature.

Salmorejo Joy

Salmorejo Joy

The Most Cultivated Fruit in the World

Sometimes I talk more about olive oil than Popeye talks about his Olive Oyl.  I'm not alone.  That's because the olive is the most extensively cultivated fruit crop in the world, according to FAO.   Statistics are so fun, so here is your party small talk:

  • Olive cultivation area has tripled in the past 50 years, passing from 2.6 to 8.5 milion hectares.
  • The world has 23 million acres of olive trees, producing 1.5 million tons of table olives and 16 million tons of olive that are processed in 2.56 million tons of oil. 
  • Spain has about ¼ of the world’s acrage of trees under cultivationand 36 to 40% of oil production on average
  • The top four producers in the world are Spain, Greece, Italy and Tunisia
Just Pressed Oil.jpg