“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.