From the Director:
Feature documentary Fear No Fruit chronicles Frieda Caplan’s rise from being the first woman entrepreneur on the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market in the 1960s, to transforming American cuisine by introducing over 200 exotic fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets.
Still an inspiration at 91, Frieda’s daughters and granddaughter carry on the business legacy. Written, Directed and Produced by Mark Brian Smith. Copyright Fear No Fruit Productions, 2014.
Interview with “Fear No Fruit” Director Mark Brian Smith
AH: How did you come to know about the important life work of Frieda Caplan?
MS:I heard about Frieda Caplan through a friend whose wife worked at Frieda’s Inc. I met with them to talk about doing a documentary to tell her story. After researching her history I immediately wanted to be part it, knowing that everything I was about to learn, my audience would as well. It’s a fascinating “who knew” story about a celebrity in her inner circle and industry who vastly transcends it.
MBS:I learned that the location was chosen wisely because of its central location to the airports, trains and ports, and how much the operation has transformed and grown over the years. When Frieda was there on the 7th Street Market in the 50’s & 60’s it was very contained. I was also taken by how there are many variables, including our current drought, that affect the outcome and crops being purchased and shipped from there. Costs and demand are continuously fluctuating, products are coming in from local growers and outside countries due to their seasonality, and certain products need to be refrigerated or climate controlled in transport.
AH:Please tell us about your “a-ha” moment when you realized you wanted to bring this incredible story to light via documentary?
MBS:My “ah-ha” moment happened when I discovered how I wanted to treat the arc of the story through a triad of layered and tied themes, using Frieda as the primary voice. Those being Frieda’s history, achievements & legacy, the 3 generations of women in a family owned and run business, and Frieda’s company mission and what challenges they face to achieve it. If I could balance those 3 elements wisely and make it an educational, emotional and entertaining ride, I knew we had the goods. Everyone involved in the film was clear that this was a tribute to Frieda and we wanted the world to know her story.
MBS:Without a doubt I was most impressed by Frieda’s drive, passion, and positive take on things, especially at her age. She’s tireless and presses for positive change every day. I absorbed a lot from her and her family and we created a trust and bond because of it. It’s truly mind blowing to read the list of produce items that they’ve assisted in bringing to America that’s transformed the way we eat – fruits and vegetables that are commonplace now. There’s many great documentaries being produced but most are about troubling and controversial subject matter. This film is an American success story, with rich, deep-seeded history.
MBS:We’re currently unveiling the film now, slowly through the film festival circuit, and hope to launch on numerous digital platforms this spring or summer. Filmbuff is representing the picture and assisting us in best utilizing the global appeal of the subject matter and finding an audience. What I tried to accomplish was for the film to translate universally and not just cater to the “foodies” and “ag” world, who will really enjoy it. At the core, it has to be a great story to tell, no matter what the subject.