With a nod to Peer Gynt, there are layers of people in our lives. Perhaps the layer closest to us consists of our friends or, if one is so lucky, family; then we have not-so- close friends; acquaintances; perhaps followed by business associates and on and on. For me, as I would guess for most people who produce documentaries, I have additional layers of people who I have met during filming, and then some people whom I have never met but I feel like I have because I have read their work, studied what they had to say, researched and read up on everything about them. Mott Green was one of those for me.
Three years ago, when I was working on A Peace of Bread, I ran across his name and his work. He was an eccentric to be sure, but he had started the Grenada Chocolate Company, with its tag line “tree to bar”- and he did just about everything—from drying the beans to maintaining the equipment to packaging it…anyway, he was without a doubt, a wild dude, and to say I was fascinated by him would be an outrageous understatement. I wondered if I could figure out a way to include him in my doc. I couldn’t.
Time marched on, that documentary made way for the next, and the next, and now the one after that. And today looking at film festivals for All of the Above, I came across the Food & Farm Festival and saw that they were screening a film called Nothing Like Chocolate which is all about Mott Green and his chocolate company—which—BTW was named one of the most influential chocolate bars of all time by Time Magazine http://time.com/8195/13-most-influential-candy-bars-of-all-time/ And right after that, the information that he had died last year. Electrocuted while working on some solar powered machinery he had designed for cooling chocolate while it was being transported (see, definition of irony.) And I was surprised, stunned, saddened, all that and more for a life ended at just 47 years old. And I thought about how I truck on, we all do, trying to do the right thing, trying to make a positive impact, trying to be an instrument of change for the better. And I am overwhelmingly grateful that I’ve been given more time to do just that. Adieu Mott. You made a great chocolate bar.