Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Cotton Film: Dirty White Gold

'Documentary journalist and troublemaker Leah Borromeo is making a film about fashion and its real victims. She is on a mission – she wants to make ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry the norm, not the exception, by making the supply chain transparent. And she is on a journey to find out how to make this a reality.

Leah will follow the thread of our clothing from seed to shop - from farmers to brokers and bankers to the factories and manufacturers through to the labels we love to wear. She’ll show the environmental and social impact of the intense use of pesticides, will engage in the debate around genetically modified seed, investigate the concept of fair trade, explore the viability of organic cotton and probe the structures that make the rich rich and the poor poor. She’ll emphasise the need for traceability and accountability in the fashion industry.

The journey ends with us – and what we can do not just to look good, but do good. So, this is a campaigning film, but not one which hits you with a worthy stick. Leah’s a troublemaking Situationist journalist and friend to The Yes Men, Reverend Billy and the Space Hijackers. She never does things by halves and so the film will be quirky, funny and have a subversive twist. Think Newsnight meets the Yes Men.'

What's really sad about this is to learn the truth about what goes on behind-the-scenes... that nearly 300,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves to escape debt (up to 26 per day!). This is the human price we pay for cheap cotton! These farmers are trapped in a cycle of debt, 'brought about as a result of the industrialisation of their livelihoods. Some kill themselves by drinking the pesticides with which they farm.' It's just too tragic to think about but we have to! Thanks to selfless people like Borromeo who want to share this with the world... to make it transparent.

At the heart of the film will be the human stories of the people who work the fields to form the threads of our moral fibre. We will ask "when you bag a bargain, who pays for it?”