Jasper Vloemans is a young man with Down syndrome who dreams of becoming independent. He is overjoyed when he gets a packer's job at the Tytgat Chocolat factory. The small chocolate factory employs neurodiverse workers to package its products and Jaspers's charming nature and heart of gold soon make him popular among the other packers at the protected workplace. Co-worker Tina Dibrani, who hails from Kosovo, falls in love with Jasper, but Jasper holds back, because his heart has been broken more than once in the past.
But when Jasper and Tina perform a duet for their workmates at the monthly karaoke night, sparks fly and Jasper also falls head over heels in love with Tina. Katarina, Tina's mother, is worried for her daughter as she has been receiving letters from immigration that both she and Tina might soon be deported.
When the police turn up to the chocolate factory announcing that there was an issue with Tina and Katarina's asylum request, they are arrested in front of Jasper and are forced to leave the country and return to Kosovo. Jasper is not one to give up on the one he loves, so he and a group of his friends from the factory set off on a road trip across Europe to find Tina and bring her back home. Meanwhile the group has no idea that their boss is fighting to prevent the chocolate company being overtaken by rich foreign investors.
A Belgian drama set in a chocolate factory seems like a no-brainer, but what sets Team Chocolate apart is the stand-out performances from the group of actors from the Theater Stap company (a Flanders-based theatre company for people with learning difficulties).
Producer Pieter Van Huyck hopes it will encourage more productions to work with actors who may have disabilities. He said, "We hope it encourages other people in other countries to try to create their own show with actors who are different. We really think it’s a beautiful way to tell their story without patronising them or approaching something as a social project. They should be treated as real actors and, if you give them that opportunity, their performance is really amazing.”
Team Chocolate is available to watch at SBS On Demand now.