We’ve mentioned previously that our 2-part documentary, The Shadow of Gold, will air later this fall in Canada on TVO, Canal D, Knowledge Network and in Europe on Arte France, SVT and others. The documentary is an international treaty co-production with Films à Cinq in Paris. Co-producing the project helped raise the required financing for such an ambitious international venture. What we didn’t mention is that The Shadow of Gold film is actually the third documentary in a global commodities trilogy that explores world commodities. Over the past decade, we’ve produced award winning documentaries Diamond Road and Raw Opium, and soon to be released, The Shadow of Gold.
All three documentaries present an in-depth look at global commodities through people whose lives are inextricably linked to their particular worlds. The three documentaries look at the human, social and economic impacts that affect individuals and the planet. Both the light and the dark sides are revealed.
Here’s a summary of each film and information on where you can watch them:
Diamond Road is a three-part documentary series and 96 minute feature version exploring the historical, cultural and socio-political facets of the world’s most intriguing gem. Boring deep into the diamond world, the series seeks to understand the multiple meanings of an object that is as old as the earth itself.
The documentary is an intimate and broad-ranging picture of a complex and historically rich world. Key to the series are the people who represent the different stages on the diamond pipeline. They are our guides, our window into a fascinating industry that spans continents and centuries and the deep shifts of history. We journey to Canada’s North with a geologist seeking diamonds in a harsh land. We meet top dealers and jewelers of New York, centre of the trade in high-end goods and gateway to the US market. We travel to India, the massive engine of the cutting and polishing industry and now a burgeoning retail market. We journey to Sierra Leone where diamonds are slowly morphing into a tool for development. In South Africa, we meet black diamond entrepreneurs and others who are intent on rewriting their country’s troubled history. We travel to Antwerp, heart of the rough trade where an old Jewish master cutter works his magic, and we learn how so many Jewish people were given a second chance at life through diamonds. We meet the passionate collectors willing to pay a small fortune for a stone born at the stroke of creation. And we meet the influential decision-makers who keep the diamond world turning.
Raw Opium is a feature length documentary (and two-part TV series) about a commodity that has tremendous power – both to ease pain and to destroy lives. The opium poppy is the raw material for heroin, fueling a vast criminal trade larger than the economies of many countries.
The documentary is a journey around the world and through time, where conflicting forces do battle over the narcotic sap of the opium poppy. From an opium master in southeast Asia to a UN drug enforcement officer on the border of Afghanistan hunting down the smugglers of central Asia; from a former Indian government Drug Czar and opium farmer to a crusading Vancouver doctor and Portuguese street worker who daily confront the realities of drug addiction.
We see how this flower has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role – not just in the lives of people who grow, manufacture and use it – but also in the increasingly tense sphere of international relations. In the process, our assumptions about addiction and the War on Drugs are challenged.
To map gold’s long shadow, this 2-part and feature documentary travels to the ends of the earth, from the rainforests of Peru to the West of Canada and the US, from the remote mountains of China to the DRC, from the gold souk in Dubai to the center of London’s financial district. We find ourselves in some of the most beautiful places on earth, and some of the ugliest. Some of the scars gold leaves upon the earth can be seen from space.
The Shadow of Gold focuses on the stories of individuals caught up in the new gold rush, turning a complex story into a human drama. The documentary takes the perspectives of the richest and poorest characters involved in the trade and interweaves them in illuminating ways, revealing the stark contrasts and contradictions at the heart of our gold obsession. In the process, we discover what our lust for gold costs. And who pays the price.