Search:     THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2017

Special Collections

Labor Studies Documentaries


Ben Addelman & Samir Malla
Producer: Adam Symansky & National Film Board of Canada
2006, 71 min., Color, India/Canada
Bombay provides American and British outsourcing firms with access to well-educated, English-speaking youths eager to get ahead and willing to sacrifice almost anything to do it. For their efforts, they are paid more money than their parents ever dreamed of earning. And they spend it frequenting a new brand of all-night discos that cater to their unusual office hours. In BOMBAY CALLING, filmmakers Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal dive into this bustling world of late nights, long hours and hard partying. The result is a compelling insider's look at youth culture in India and at the growing number of young people who choose to follow the American dream.
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Michael McLean
2006, 26 min., Color, US/Argentina
Juanchi, a 21-year-old from a small town outside Buenos Aires, supports himself and his family by digging through trash. Six days a week, he roams the street of the Argentine capital in search of cardboard and other recyclables, hoping to sell his findings to a recycling depository.
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Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel
Producer: Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel & Chitra Aiyar
2013, 21 min.
CLAIMING OUR VOICE follows members of Andolan, a Queens-based organization founded and led by South Asian domestic workers as a means to support each other and collectively organize against exploitative work conditions in an industry prone to underpayment of wages, extended work hours without rest, sleep deprivation, lack of health care, verbal and emotional abuse, and sometimes, physical assault, and sexual abuse. This film presents the women of Andolan as they create, rehearse and refine acts for their first multi-lingual theater performance with the help of Sri Lankan-American performing artist YaliniDream.
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Ruben Gonzalez
Producer: Third World Newsreel Workshop
1995, 18 min., Color, US
Floristas are immigrant flower vendors who scratch out a living by hawking their wares on the streets of New York City. Gonzalez depicts a world where survival depends on not only selling your wares, but dealing with stray bullets, flower shop competition and police harassment.
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Charlene Gilbert
1993, 25 min., Color
A documentary portrait of a courageous African American woman, who after 18 years working at a textile factory in Goldsboro, North Carolina, became a passionate and outspoken leader in a struggle to unionize her plant. As a result of her efforts she was fired, but despite losing her job she continued to speak out about the conditions in her factory and in plants throughout the South.
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Prem Kalliat
1990, 25 min., Color
This video offers a profile of a transsexual and her community in the Indian city of Bangalore. It provides a unique insight into the lives of Hijdas, a society of eunuchs numbering in the tens of thousands who have thrived in India for centuries. The Hijdas work as prostitutes and are a close-knit group who live and work communally. Jareena, who assumes the role of a man when she visits her family, explains this duality and how the Hijdas helped her form her identity and assert her true self.
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Zahida Pirani
2014, 17 min., Color, US
JUDITH: PORTRAIT OF A STREET VENDOR is a documentary short that takes the audience on an intimate journey into the daily life of Judith, a street vendor from Guatemala who lives and works in New York City. Judith exposes the routine obstacles and struggles she and her fellow immigrant vendors face daily on the city’s streets and reveals her own hopes and aspirations as an immigrant worker, mother, activist and community organizer.
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Tami Gold & Gerardo Renique
Producer: Tami Gold & Gerardo Renique
2007, 30 min., Color, US/Mexico
What began as a teachers' strike for better wages and more resources for students has erupted into a massive movement for profound social change in the state of Oaxaca. With the largest indigenous population in Mexico, the state of Oaxaca is also one of the poorest and has the highest rate of school dropouts. On June 14, at 4:20 AM, the police made a surprise attack. The more than fifty thousand teachers camped out with their children were awakened to tear gas, pepper spray and helicopters. But the attack backfired as public anger transformed the strike into an unprecedented democratic insurgency, demanding the resignation of Governor Ruiz.
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Louis Massiah
2002, 18 min., Color, US
A short documentary tracing the life and times of Louise Alone Thompson Patterson, a civil rights and labor activist who was dubbed ”Madame Moscow” for her role in America’s communist movement.
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Aparna Talaulicar
1999, 30 min., Color, US
"Maid to Stay" is the story of four South Asian Women domestic workers in New York. Elizabeth has been sent back to India because her employers discover she's been talking to a women's group about how badly she's being treated. Shahida has escaped from trouble back home in Bangladesh and cannot return, but longs to do so. She doesn't like the work or being in the U.S. but must stay on. Nahar has been in exploitative work situations and now organizes other women like her. Gurbachan has fought and won legal battles against her former employers.
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Yolanda Pividal
2014, 60 min., Color, US/Mexico/Spain
OF KITES AND BORDERS, winner of the Best Documentary Award at the San Diego Film Festival and the Havana Film Festival in New York, tells the story of the daily struggle to be a child living on the US-Mexico border through the eyes of four working children in the city of Tijuana.
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Alan Grossman & Áine O’Brien
Producer: FOMACS in association with Ned Kelly Pictures
2010, 79 min., Color, Ireland
Through struggle and sacrifice migrant women often stand as sole breadwinners in the transnational family. Separated from her daughter Gracelle at 7 months, Noemi Barredo left the Philippines for work in Malaysia before arriving in Ireland in 2000. Filmed over a five-year period, PROMISE AND UNREST is an intimate portrayal of a migrant woman working as a caregiver and long-distance mother, while assuming the responsibility of providing for her extended family in the Philippines.
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Alonzo Speight & Simin Farkondeh
Producer: Third World Newsreel
2001, 6 min., Color, US
An ironic and engaging short on how worries of an impending economic downturn following the events of September 11th have caused corporations to cut their budgets. A Video blending documentary with narrative, the true priorities of the industry of “friendly skies” are brought into the open.
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Al Santana & Denise B Santiago
2012, 52 min., Color/BW, US
SALTY DOG BLUES features a group of men and women of color who served in the United States Merchant Marine from 1937 – 1989. This nine-year project examines their development as a multi-racial and international labor force, their contributions to the World War II efforts, their relationship to the National Maritime Union and the Seafarers International Union, and a dispute over lost health benefits.
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Hima B.
1994, 59 min., Color, US
This documentary offers a unique perspective on sex work from the lesbian point of view. Through interviews, erotica, and archival footage, the videomaker explores the lives of lesbian strippers, prostitutes and dancers, including author, activist and femme fatale Annie Sprinkle. The women share the perspectives and insights they have gained working in this predominantly heterosexual and male dominated industry. Positive, funny and provocative, STRAIGHT FOR THE MONEY interrogates the interconnections between feminism, sexual empowerment, desire and cold, hard cash.
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Honor Ford-Smith & Harclyde Walcott
1985, 45 min., Color, Jamaica
A popular Jamaican women's troupe uses improvisation and theater as consciousness-raising tools for both rural and urban audiences. Their performances speak directly to the daily experiences of women--the least empowered workers, who labor long hours for low wages with no benefits or rights to organize for better conditions. Using role-play and interviews with female cane workers, the collective develops dramatizations which analyze social issues and pinpoint their concerns.
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Vivek Renjen Bald
1996, 49 min., Color, US
This documentary focuses on the lives and dreams of South Asian immigrant taxi drivers in New York City. Combining video and taxi-driver interviews and the personal narrative of the second-generation bi-racial, Indian-American video maker, TAXI-VALA looks at the complexities of migration, displacement, economic empowerment and the pursuit of the elusive "American dream" within New York's growing South Asian communities.
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Mabel Maio
2008, 30 min., Color, Argentina
This inspiring documentary tells the story of a group of Indigenous women who responded to Argentina's economic crisis by rediscovering the ancestral tradition of spinning and weaving wool. They call themselves “Tinku Kamayu” which means in the Quechua language “working together”.
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Juliana Fredman & Dan O'Reilly-Rowe
2006, 57 min., Color, US/Palestine
This documentary follows ordinary people’s efforts to overcome extraordinary obstacles in pursuit of routine health care in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Shot on location with patients and health workers over seven months, this film offers a thought-provoking, compassionate perspective on life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
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J.T. Takagi & Hye Jung Park
Producer: Third World Newsreel
1995, 60 min., Color, US/South Korea
EDUCATIONAL VIDEO-ON-DEMAND STREAMING NOW AVAILABLE: twn.tugg.com/titles/the-women-outside
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Domestic Workers United
Producer: Third World Newsreel
2010, 10 min., Color, US
Over 200,000 women work in the homes of New Yorkers as housekeepers and nannies. Mostly women of color and often undocumented, their work is not covered by labor laws, and for many, the pay and conditions of work are beyond belief. The women are beginning to organize, though, to fight for a bill of rights. As one worker says: imagine if all 200,000 went on strike one day? Wall Street would have to shut down as families had to watch their own children. Part of the Call for Change series.
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