(March 14, 2019) 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.
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.