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Filming

First Day of Shooting for Documentary, Semisweet

michael — 5 years ago

Tomorrow I head up to Haliburton, Ontario to start filming a new documentary on chocolate called Semisweet. I’m as prepared as I think I can be. And pretty darned excited to boot. The trip will take roughly four hours – a lot longer if it starts snowing...again.

I’m meeting up with Ron Obadia and Nadine Artemis, two people I hope to have in the documentary. Although I’ve met them once before, I’m really not sure what to expect when I finally get to their place.

The first time I hooked up with Ron and Nadine was 5 days ago at the Downward Dog yoga studio in downtown Toronto. They were hosting a benefit event to raise money to pay their legal bills. This is after they were charged – twice – with trying to smuggle huge bricks of hash into the US of A. Their defense is that it wasn’t drugs – it was chocolate. But how could the authorities screw up so badly? And why were Ron and Nadine packing so much chocolate anyway?

I went to the Downward Dog to specifically talk to them about this. After all, I’m making a documentary on chocolate and I needed to find out why US and Canadian customs couldn’t tell the difference between hashish and sweet old chocolate.

Nadine arrived first -- placing a large powder blue, retro 70s suitcase on a table. “What’s that stuff,” I asked as she pulled out vial after vial filled with various coloured fluids. “Secret potions,” she told me.

I’d heard that -- when it came to concocting essential-oil elixirs -- Nadine was an alchemist. A truly gifted modern-day wizard. And Nadine sure looked the part: long flowing hair, clinging white mini-dress, leather belt, and denim leggings. She could have been cast as a forest fairy in a lost chapter from Lord of the Rings.

Could Gollum be far behind?

But, when her life partner Ron finally arrived, he looked nothing like the wayward hobbit. More like Perry Farrell, the lead singer for Jane’s Addiction. Remember them? Anyway, Ron came in rocking a chocolate-brown suit with a lime-green shirt. In his arms was their 2-year-old son, Leif (or Leaf – because who can really be sure at this point?)

Soon after, the crowd started pouring in – young, beautiful people. A new-age band summoned up a few shamanic tunes. Secret potions were passed around. Money exchanged hands. A film on mushrooms was screened. Somewhere in there, Ron and Nadine brought out their homemade chocolate. A huge honking brick. “It’s like a drug,” Ron told me as he cut off a thin slice, “But way better”. Nadine handed their toddler Leif/Leaf a small piece. “We really think this has the potential to save the world.”

And, now, I’m heading up to their cabin deep in the Canadian woods to visit them at home. In their natural element. In a secluded compound they call “The Land of Is.”

What are they up to up there? I’m ready for anything. But at the slightest glimpse of Sauron, I’m getting back in the frigging car.

Chocolate, documentary, FairTrade, FairTradeChocolate, MichaelBlog, RawChocolate, SemiSweet, TVO

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