Support BARISTA

Feministe friends Nona Willis Aronowitz and Aaron Cassara are working on a great project and they could use your help.

THE STORY

“Barista” is a short fiction film that tells a specific story, but it’s also a generational narrative about the precarious service worker. It’s about the crippling costs of health care and education, about paying the bills in a lagging economy while still trying move forward. But it’s also about what happens to a couple when moving forward is no longer an option.

Allison (25) works for a major coffee chain that provides her with health insurance but poverty wages. She wants to change her life and become a graphic designer, but these dreams are muted by the grind of the service industry, the cost of college, and the need to pay the bills. Her longtime boyfriend, Holt (27), urges her to reinvent her life, and finally she relents.

Everything is falling into place—the couple moves into a new apartment, Allison reapplies to college and prepares to quit her job. But suddenly, it all falls apart. Allison, through a terrifying, traumatic episode, discovers she has MS. She knows a chronic disease is expensive. She knows that leaving her job—and her health insurance–would bury her in medical bills. This rude awakening brings Holt and Allison’s relationship to the brink, and forces them to stare down their bleak economic future.

WHY “BARISTA” IS IMPORTANT

In the midst of economic turmoil, this country’s low wage service class is growing exponentially. These jobs are replacing ones that used to be better, and they promise an uncertain and prohibitive future. This film is close to my heart not only because I’ve worked in the service industry for years, but because this is based on the story of a very close friend of mine.

This film is a modern take on Italian neorealism. Like the post-WWII films of De Sica and Rossellini, “Barista” will expose a disappointing economic reality, and be shot on location with as much natural light as possible.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

We have most of the elements in place to make “Barista.” We have a great cast lined up and much of the crew. The locations are set and won’t cost a dime. We’re also getting to use most of the gear for free. But we need your help to transport and feed a cast and crew of 15 to 25 people for a four-day shoot. And, in the spirit of “Barista,” we want to pay these talented workers fairly for their time.

Go help ’em out.

3 comments for “Support BARISTA

  1. being
    August 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I hope this film gets made. In so many ways this is my story. If I had the means I would help.

    I went to a very good college but feel like I graduated with little more than a piece of paper and a load of debt. So much debt. After two years without work, I found work part time at the grocery store, for minimum wage. I dream of one day getting my masters degree–entering a field that promises at least a lower middle class wage. Unfortunately, I have a persistant disease that is difficult to manage–it kept me from going directly into graduate school and it also hindered my ability to work. I have been truly lucky to have health insurance this last year–thanks to President Obama’s healthcare law–but my eligibility expires in December. I don’t know if I will be able to afford my treatment without health insurance. In another year, I will qualify for who knows what quality of health insurance plan through the grocery store…but I shudder to think I will still be there. My checks have been around $60 a week. I know I will eventually end up on welfare if I continue to work this type of dead end service sector job. I am so grateful that my family is providing me with shelter, food, and transportation for now…but I hate to keep taking from them when they too are struggling. But what else is there? I am trying to think of a way out. I must be certain further education is something I can accomplish while sick and that it will be worth the price this time. I wish the education bubble would burst already so tuition would become reasonable again.

  2. being
    August 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Just re-read that, and I’m sorry to sound so whiny and offload all my shit here. I was on over-share mode because I was just struck by how familiar her story is. Really, what ever happened to the Land of Opportunity?

  3. m
    September 1, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Wow, pretty overwhelming response, eh?

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