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·         Danish director, Miki Mistrati’s third documentary on the ethical failures of the chocolate industry focuses on child slavery in the Ivory Coast.

·         Human Rights Lawyer, Terry Collingsworth, protagonist of the movie, details his long- standing battle to hold multinational cocoa corporations accountable.

·         RAKFAF premieres the gripping documentary in the Middle East on February 18th, 2023 at Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village.

Ras Al Khaimah, February 16, 2023: Amongst the various month-long eventful community-enriching activities at the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, the one that is gaining most popularity is the outdoor screenings of thought-provoking films on weekends at the Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village.

For the first time in the Middle East, the award-winning documentary, The Chocolate War, will be premiered at the free-to-attend Festival on February 18, 2023, at 8 pm. An eye-opening documentary by Director and journalist Miki Mistrati, the film sheds light on child slavery in the cocoa and chocolate industry.

Director Mistrati says, “My journey started in 2007 in a local supermarket. I was a random consumer looking for chocolate. The supermarket was full of various brands and flavors. On one of the shelves, I found seven chocolate bars from the same company, but with seven different flavors, tastes, and colors: one was with nuts, one with almonds, one with dark chocolate, and one with white chocolate. But I noticed that one was also labeled ‘fairtrade’. I wondered, what would the six other chocolate bars be if only one was fairtrade? Were they unfair trade? That was the beginning of my long journey as a journalist and filmmaker, researching and investigating this industry that, as I quickly learned, was full of illegal child labor, child trafficking, and violation of international laws. I also learned that nobody within the industry cared, that they were turning a blind eye to what was going on – or trying to cover up a major problem with, for example, poor schooling programs available to only a small group of children.”

‘The Chocolate War’ has been nominated for a Cinema for Peace Award, for Best Documentary at Warsaw International Film Festival, selected for the Human Rights Film Festival in Berlin, Toronto Food Festival, nominated as Best TV documentary at Rai’s Prix Italia, and more.

Human rights lawyer Terry Collingsworth, the documentary’s protagonist, is working hard to bring justice to the chocolate industry. An international impact campaign for ‘THE CHOCOLATE WAR’ is now launched to create worldwide awareness on child slavery in the cocoa and chocolate industry and engage consumers and decision-makers to act and care for a sustainable supply chain.

Following the screening of the documentary at RAKFAF, a group of panelists will discuss the ethical sourcing of cocoa. The panelists include Terry Collingsworth, Human rights lawyer; Miki Mistrati, Producer/Director of the film; Mette Bjerregaard, Impact Producer at Made In Copenhagen, and Iman Suguitan, Co-founder of Co Chocolat, a UAE based, ethically sourced chocolate company, at 9:30pm on February 18, 2023, at the Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village.

Watch the trailer: The Chocolate War

About Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF)

The Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival is the Emirate’s flagship arts and culture event, held annually under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. Hosted at the Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village, we are a community arts festival designed to highlight diverse work of both emerging and renowned artists, filmmakers, photographers and more.

About Director, Miki Mistrati:

Miki Mistrati is an award-winning director from Denmark, currently working as a Creative Director and Executive Producer at Perfect Storm Productions in London. He has produced and directed more than 80 documentaries and feature films. His two previous series of chocolate films, ‘The Dark Side of Chocolate’ and ‘Shady Chocolate’ have been brought by more than 30 distribution channels covering most territories in the world, including The Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Facts on child labor

Ivory Coast is the biggest supplier of cocoa in the world with more than 40% of the world market – Source: ICCO.org

Ivory Coast produced 2.15 million tonnes during the 2019/2020 season. Source: Reuters https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/ivory-coast-ghana-push-cocoa-industry-boost-premium-payments-2021-05-13/

Ivory Coast is the world’s top cocoa producer

Kilde Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/ivory-coast-ghana-push-cocoa-industry-boost-premium-payments-2021-05-13/

On average, cocoa farmers earn just 6% of the final value of a bar of chocolate.

Source: https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/

The percentage of children engaged in labor between mid-March and mid-May rose to 19.4% from 16% in the same period in recent years, according to a survey of over 1,400 households conducted by the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). Source: Reuters.com https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cocoa-ivorycoast-childlabour-idUSKBN2425SV

In 2001 the world’s largest cocoa producers signed the voluntarily Harkin-Engle Protocol, agreeing to end all child- and forced labor in Ivory Coast’s cocoa plantations by 2005. World Cocoa Foundation, which all the defendant companies are members of, has now changed the deadline to 2025. Danwatch.dk https://danwatch.dk/tidligere-boernearbejdere-sagsoeger-nestle-mars-og-andre-chokoladegiganter-for-tvangsarbejde-og-menneskehandel-2/