Coffee & Creativity

Published November 19, 2013

ABOVE: (LEFT TO RIGHT) ANDREA ILLY, KATRINA PAVLOS, AND HARVEY WEINSTEIN. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE SCHILDHORN/BFA NY.

When a documentary promises to feature James Franco wearing a bathrobe backwards while revealing his creative inspirations to a handheld camera, few would immediately think to credit the power of coffee. But it was Andrea Illy, CEO of global coffee company Illy, who partnered with cultural organization Liberatum to create a short film titled Inspiring Creativity. The short, which will premiere at Art Basel Miami Beach on December 2, also poses the concept of creativity to TED Talks founder Richard Saul Wurman, Joan Smalls, Lee Daniels, Moby, Marilyn Minter, and Tracey Emin. “There was no brief. It was a conversation; there were no rules,” Illy told us emphatically, which explains the bathrobe. 

Illy also explained how coffee served as the project’s muse: “[It] gives you a sense of well-being that wine cannot do, because wine relaxes you, and other stimulants put you into a more nervous state. But the caffeine in coffee perks you up, and the other components really give you a good sense of well-being, so you can be inspired.” Any other pro tips? “Meditation is key,” he admitted. “That’s a common thread [in the documentary].”

Last night, a small audience gathered at the Core Club in New York to watch the Inspiring Creativity trailer and a screening of  F.W. Murnau’s 1930s silent film, City Girl—the film that most inspires Harvey Weinstein.

Fellow filmmaker Katrina Pavlos, producer and creator of the Grand Classics film series, seemed to find her inspiration through challenges themselves: “[In] bringing together image and story, film is much more difficult than people realize. And all the people that are involved excite me on different levels—you meet a fashion designer one minute, another minute a financier, another minute a film director, and you get to bring them all together.”