Workers Unite! Film Festival 2017

 Films and Directors

25 Tracks (53 min)
Directed by: Fiona Cochrane
Documentary Feature (2016) Australia
Program 4

It’s 2011 and ‘twentyfive’ plan to write, record then release a fresh song every two weeks of the year.  ‘twentyfive’ are two unknown, indie songwriters in a bare bones studio in the industrial West of Melbourne - Australia’s music capital. They have a studio set-up which is a piece of Melbourne history - a 1957 train carriage, lovingly restored, fitted out with a Tiki Bar. Cath loves pop, Nick loves garage rock. She wants jazz flute, he wants a dirty guitar. Is this ever going to work?

A Day’s Work (56 min)
Directed by: David M. Garcia
Documentary Feature (2015)
Program 33

Ninety minutes before he was killed on his first day of work as a temporary employee, 21-year-old Day Davis texted a picture of himself to his girlfriend, excited for their future.  Now Day's sister, 17-year-old Antonia, searches for answers. An investigation reveals the issues that led to Day's death and how the $100 billion temporary staffing industry is putting millions of American workers at risk.

American Socialist: The Life & Times of Eugene Victor Debs (1 hr 38 min)
Directed by: Yale Strom
Documentary Feature (2017) U.S.
Program 13

Presidential candidate Eugene Debs (early 1900's) is ousted for running a socialist campaign, then imprisoned as a traitor for his opposition to WWI. This encyclopedic documentary of Deb's life and times details the rise in a Socialist Party that garnered a serious percentage of the vote and the constant repression against Debs, Socialists and leftists by the United States government, both during WWI and after. A fascinating look at an important time in our history.

Anchovies (17 min)
Directed by: Craig Harwood
Narrative Short (2016) U.S.
Program 7

Haunted by his mother’s drowning, a genderqueer teen, is forced to spend the day with his father's new health freak girlfriend, but he isn't interested in the benefits of omega three fatty acids, walks on the beach or motherly advice.

And Then We March (3 min)
Directed by: Lynne Sachs
Documentary Short (2017) U.S.
Program 15

Experimental Filmmaker Lynne Sachs (Your Day is My Night, Tip Of My Tongue) went to the Women's March with her young neighbor, who was attending her first ever political march and demonstration. The results remind us that you're never to young to speak truth to power.

August Lucey (1 hr 16 min)
Directed by: Dylan Latimer and Jesse Karch
Narrative Feature (2016) U.S.
Program 23

A satire about a young man trying to find his political identity. A frustrated poet working in pharmaceutical advertising becomes a whistleblower to expose unethical drug testing, then leaves his job to live in the woods with a group of radicals who have gone off the grid and removed themselves from society.

Be Ethical Always (16 min)
Directed by: Tom Putnam
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 24

One hapless employee's struggle to complete online ethics training after his job has been outsourced. Touches on surveillance and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hypocrisy en masse from a soulless corporation with numerous ethical violations, which has employees take a phony and hypocritical online ethics course every few months.

Biographies of Struggle (43 min)
Directed by: Matteo Saltalippi & Greca Campus
Documentary Short (2016) U.K./Italy
Program 25

 A documentary about the longest steelworkers strike in Italy since the last labor unrest wave of the 80s. The ThyssenKrupp factory, threatened by 550 job cuts and a partial closure, is the framework where 11 participants express their thoughts and opinions about the on-going 7 months dispute and 45-days-long strike. Drawing on their biographies and work experiences, they depict a portrait of one of the oldest Italian working class communities, while defending the local labor from the multinational’s capitalistic profit logic.

Bordertown (16 min)
Directed by: Gregory Nava
Documentary Feature (2006) U.S.
Program 40

Since 1993, almost 400 women have been murdered in Juarez, Mexico, a factory town that is home to people who toil away at "maquiladoras" (border factories) making cheap consumer goods for the US market. "Bordertown" tells the story of Lauren Fredricks (Jennifer Lopez), an ambitious newspaper reporter, who has been sent to Juarez by her editor (Martin Sheen) to investigate what has happened to these hundreds of women and how the local police and authorities have been covering up the brutal rapes and murders. Lauren looks up her former colleague (and lover) Alfonso Diaz (Antonio Banderas), who now runs the local paper, and they soon uncover one of the hottest stories of the year when they come across the only known survivor of one of these mysterious attacks. The victim is reluctant to speak, but Lauren convinces her to break the silence; yet the real danger is not the murder, but the larger forces who don't want the story told.

Bullies (5 min)
Produced by: Corporate Campaign, Inc.
Narrative Short (2017) U.S.
Programs 14, 26, 29, 33, & 38

Sharply worded commentary on how the Real Estate Board of NY seems to conspire to keep rents high, pocket taxpayer money aimed at building affordable housing and allows unsafe working conditions through use of non-union and temp labor.

Cab Elvis (10 min)
Directed by: Andrew Franks
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 5

Dave Groh, a cab driver who dresses like Elvis, finds himself not only in a battle with the city of Seattle but also the dark side of Elvis.

Cabuwazi (Circus) Beyond Borders (30 min)
Directed by: Gertrud Schulte Westenberg

Documentary Short (2016) Germany
Program 31

In the summer of 2015, thousands of refugees arrive in Berlin. Amongst them are many children. Behind them lie long and, in some cases, difficult journeys. Friends and family are gone, everything is different, everything foreign. For a Berlin-based child and youth circus, Cabuwazi, it is immediately clear that something must be done. An independent team named “Cabuwazi Beyond Borders” is established and travels directly to the refugee centers. The children and young people longingly await their circus classes. The climax of the 3 month long course is the final circus show in a real life circus tent. A charming and important film for these difficult and often too angry times.

CARE (1 hr 2 min)
Directed by: Deirdre Fishel
Documentary Feature (2016) U.S.
Program 14

Care delves deep into the world of home elder care through the eyes of both paid caregivers and their elderly clients. Undocumented Vilma, cares for Dee, 92, an active businesswoman until dementia ended her work life. With her only family 3,000 miles away, Vilma is her lifeline. In an isolated rural area, Laurie cajoles Larry to do his exercises and have hope while he waits for a lung transplant. Larry’s wife Tiff says, “This is the hardest job in the world.”  The film reveals that despite long days taking care of others, care workers often struggle to feed their own families. Laurie can’t pay her rent, Vilma can’t process her green card, and Delores winds up in a women’s shelter. On the flip side, middle class Toni and Peter are going broke paying for the 24/7 care Peter needs. Through these personal stories, Care reveals the deep humanity and poignancy of care work, as well as the challenges faced by elders, their families and their care workers. It also reveals the beginning of a movement to improve how we care—both for the growing number of older adults and for those who make their lives livable.

City of Joy (1 hr 16 min)
Directed by: Madeleine Gavin
Documentary Feature (2016) Africa
Program 21

Devastated by 20 years of violence, the eastern part of The Democratic Republic of Congo is often referred to as "The worst place in the world to be a woman."  This film brings a very different story from the region.  City Of Joy follows the first class of women at a revolutionary leadership center in eastern Congo called City of Joy, from which the film derives its title, and weaves their journey as burgeoning leaders with that of the center’s founders (Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2016 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, women's rights activist Christine Schuler-Deschryver and radical feminist Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues) - three individuals who imagined a place where women who have suffered horrific rape and abuse can heal and become powerful voices of change for their country.  A story about the profound resilience of the human spirit, City Of Joy witnesses Congolese women's fierce will to reclaim hope, even when so much of what was meaningful to them has been stripped away.

CWA: Fighting for A Fair Contract (1 min)
Produced by:
Communication Workers of America (CWA)
Films from the Frontlines (2017) U.S.
Programs 2, 12, & 33

AT&T Mobility Workers are coming together to fight for a fair contract.

CWA: Sarrah & Cheryce - AT&T Mobility Bargaining (3 min)
Produced by: Communication Workers of America (CWA)
Films from the Frontlines (2017) U.S.
Programs 2, 12, & 33

Sarrah & Cheryce work at AT&T Mobility. The company makes billions off their hard work while their families try to get by with less. Stand with them for good jobs & a fair union contract:

Denial (1 hr 32 min)
Directed by: Derek Hallquist
Documentary Feature (2017) U.S.
Program 10

Every day our changing climate pushes us closer to an environmental catastrophe, but for most the problem is easy to ignore. David Hallquist, a Vermont utility executive, has made it his mission to take on one of the largest contributors of this global crisis - our electric grid. But when his son Derek tries to tell his father's story, the film is soon derailed by a staggering family secret, one that forces Derek and David to turn their attention toward a much more personal struggle, one that can no longer be ignored.  With stunning access to intimate family moments and behind-the-scenes energy deals, and with unique humor in the face of overwhelming events, Denial manages to present an important topic through a funny, informational, and enormously compelling personal narrative

Detroit Dog City (1 hr 11 min)
Directed by: Candace Barbot
Documentary Feature (2015) U.S.
Program 15

Detroit, in parts, is a ghost town. Bankruptcy left the city with 78,000 deserted buildings. Thousands of stray dogs — mostly bully breeds known as “Detroit Specials” — roam the streets and hideout in abandoned spaces. This is the story of how a wealthy nation, the U.S., lets a working class city drift into despair.  Meet Detroit Dog Rescue, a homegrown pack of friends and family fueled by a passion to clean up Detroit … one dog at a time. With a tight-knit clan of volatile personalities, the DDR crew braves rough streets, dingy buildings and gnashing teeth to rescue former fight dogs, territorial mutts and fetching pups from the wreckage of Detroit’s economic collapse.

Fare Share (30 min)
Directed by: Adrienne von Wolffersdorff
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 25

Through the personal experiences of four Uber and Lyft drivers, this short documentary explores the complexities of Seattle’s burgeoning ride-share industry, revealing the challenges of protecting workers’ rights at a time when the nature of work is rapidly changing.

Free Cece (1 hr 27 min)
Directed by: Jacqueline Gares
Documentary Feature (2016) U.S.
Program 7

Free CeCe is a documentary about CeCe McDonald, a transgender woman of color who was arrested and plead guilty to second degree manslaughter for defending herself against a racist and sexist man who attacked her. The documentary touches upon many important subjects from prison practices and abolition, to misgender and misinformation, misunderstanding of transgender women and transgender women of color. The film focuses on what happened to CeCe and her interactions with prison and the justice system, but also focuses on the light that she has become and the movement she has inspired.

Free WiFi Kiosks in Brooklyn Are Raising Concerns Among the Cyber Expert Community (5 min)
Produced by: Link NYC
Films from the Frontlines (2017) U.S.
Program 38

LINK NYC is providing stations throughout the city that charge phones and provide wi-fi access, all for free. Cyber activists, tech professionals, and even community members have concerns about the new kiosks, however. A major consideration is whether personal data will be collected and sold to businesses without the consent of the users. LINK NYC has stated that they do not track or store online activity, and will never sell or share personal information unless lawfully required to do so.

Gaining Ground (1 hr 16 min)
Directed by: Elaine Velazquez
Documentary Feature (2015) U.S.
Program 20

Personal stories of farmers making extraordinary changes in their farming practices to feed their local communities sustainably grown produce and grains. The documentary interweaves the experiences of urban farmer-activists in inner city Richmond, California, a small family farm in rural Oregon converting from commodity dairy to chemical-free produce and a large farm in the Willamette Valley transitioning from grass seed to organic grains. The film personalizes class, gender, race and environmental justice issues by rooting them within narratives of compelling individuals. The devastating effects of the 2012 Chevron Richmond refinery fire on Urban Tilth in inner city Richmond is explored, as well as the impact of the 2013 discovery of GMO wheat in Eastern Oregon on Stalford Seed Farms in the Willamette Valley. While the movie is sober about the obstacles to creating change, it points the way toward hope at the same time. Gaining Ground instills in its viewers the potential to create change on a personal, local and global scale.

Generation Revolution (1 hr 12 min)
Directed by: Usayd Younis & Cassie Quarless
Documentary Feature (2017) U.K.
Program 1

The powerful story of a new generation of black and brown activists who are changing the social and political landscape in the capital and beyond (U.K.'s #BlackLivesMatter movement). This feature-length documentary film follows an exciting new breed of organizations as well as the young Londoners that are part of them.

Gideon’s Army (1 hr 35 min)
Directed by: Dawn Porter
Documentary Feature (2013) U.S.
Program 30

Follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year. Nearly 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court ruling Gideon vs. Wainwright that established the right to counsel, can these courageous lawyers revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defense and make “justice for all” a reality?

Goodnight Moon (5 min)
Directed by: Victorious De Costa
Narrative Short (2017) U.S.
Program 4

Musician Jeremy Bacon is devastated when he receives a letter informing him that his wife will not be permitted to return home due to travel restrictions affecting her country of birth. He attempts to lose himself in music in order to cope, turning his piano into a shrine to her, but he is ultimately moved by his despair to visit the U.S. Custom House, performing a symbolic act of protest against inhumane immigration policies. There, he encounters looming classical sculptures depicting mankind's historical diaspora from Africa, Asia, Europe and finally the Americas.

Hand Werk (7 min)
Directed by: Joeri Verbesselt
Narrative Short (2015) Belgium
Program 26

Two young laborers search for human contact in a mechanical world.

Hate Ends Here (6 min)
Produced by: Well Red Films
Films from the Frontlines (2016) U.K.
Program 8

National March 19th 2016 march and rally in London, U.K., welcoming refugees and standing up to racism.

Holding Out (20 min)
Directed by: Rebecca Gourevitch
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 14

With an eviction crisis reaching epic proportions in San Francisco, the city's residents must navigate changing landscapes and communities, while also facing the loss of their homes. Using storytelling to explore themes of memory, history, and community, Holding Out follows four embattled tenants as they reflect on their lives and fight eviction. Questioning the relationship between developers and City Hall, the film exposes what is at stake, and who stands to lose, in San Francisco’s determined quest to assert its role as the tech capital of the world.

Honk: A Festival Of Activist Street Bands (7 min)
Directed by: Patrick Johnson
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 6

Honk! is a festival of activist street bands who reclaim public spaces with their brash sound, political messages, and outrageous community oriented performances.

I Am (13 min)
Directed by: Shanik Tanna & Chrisann Hessing
Documentary Short (2017) Canada
Program 17

During these especially troubled times for immigrants and immigration, this short film really hammers home how we are all so much more the same, than different. We take a deeper look at the JAYU film festival's initiative that empowered 25 newcomer youth from the Middle East in Toronto to share their versions of home, both at the iAm Gallery and in this short documentary. Eye-opening and touching.

In Dubious Battle (1 hr 50 min)
Directed by: James Franco
Narrative Feature (2017) U.S.
Programs 2 & 37

In the California apple country, nine hundred migratory workers rise up "in dubious battle" against the landowners. The group takes on a life of its own -stronger than its individual members and more frightening. Led by the doomed Jim Nolan, the strike is founded on his tragic idealism - on the "courage never to submit or yield." Published in 1936, In Dubious Battle is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. With an all-star cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Josh Hutcherson, Bryan Cranston, Sam Shepard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Zach Braff, Keegan Allen, Ashley Greene, and Beth Grant.

Juvenile Justice: The Road to Reform (8 min)
Produced by:
Ghandi Brigade Youth Media
Films from the Frontlines (2015) U.S.
Program 1

It was a turbulent spring of 2015 as protesters and rioters took to the streets of Baltimore expressing their frustration with the justice system. Fifty miles away, seven high school students watched the scene unfold and asked themselves why it happened.

Karmakonto (Karma Account) (1 min)
Directed by: Lukas Klaschinski
Narrative Short (2015) Germany
Program 29

A man is heading ruthlessly towards his goal and loses connection to what he once was: A child!

Killing the Black Snake: Behind the Scenes of the #NODAPL Struggle (30 min)
Produced by: sub.Media
Documentary Short (2017) U.S.
Program 1

The sub.Media team looks beyond the mainstream narratives surrounding the Standing Rock encampment to get a better understanding of some of the camp's overlooked dynamics, including serious disagreements over which tactics to use to best stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Ladies Only (31 min)
Directed by: Veda Shastri
Documentary Short (2017) India
Program 28

With the rise of rapes and sexual assaults on women throughout India as they travel, an enterprising group of women set up an all-female driver taxi company that will only accept women as passengers. Getting where you’re going without getting harassed. That’s what’s driving a new generation of Indian women to become taxi drivers - for women only. Enter their world as they negotiate New Delhi’s divided public transport spaces.

Last Call Lenny (12 min)
Directed by: Julien Lasseur
Narrative Short (2016) U.S.
Program 29

An enterprising entrepreneur has combined his estate antiques business with a willingness to help those depressed by life to arrange an early departure. However, events don't always go the way one plans.

Love and Solidarity: James Lawson & Nonviolence In The Search for Workers Rights (38 min)
Directed by: Michael Honey
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 24

An exploration of nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Rev. James Lawson. Lawson provided crucial strategic guidance while working with Martin Luther King, Jr., in southern freedom struggles and the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968. Moving to Los Angeles in 1974, Lawson continued his nonviolence organizing in multi-racial community and worker coalitions that have helped to remake the LA labor movement. Through interviews and historical documents, acclaimed labor and civil rights historian Michael Honey and award-winning filmmaker Errol Webber put Lawson's discourse on nonviolent direct action on the front burner of today's struggles against economic inequality, racism and violence, and for human rights, peace, and economic justice.

Ludlow, Greek Americans in the Colorado Coal War (1 hr 11 min)
Directed by: Leonidas Vardaros
Documentary Feature (2016) U.S./Greece
Program 12

The story of Greek immigrants who were brought to the Colorado coal mines to work under inhuman conditions and who, together with immigrants from 22 other countries, revolted and wrote a proud page of American labor history, known as the Colorado Coal War of 1913-14.

Marx Is Back (50 min)
Produced by: Contraimagen Group
Narrative Feature (2016) Argentina
Program 3

A mini-series of fiction based on the Communist Manifesto. Marx Is Back takes place in today's Argentina, which suffers the blows of economic crises like other countries do. Workers of a printing house are facing suspensions and lay-offs; a group of workers are organizing to fight back as the union officials try to push them aside. At the same time, Martin, part of the workers’ group, starts to read the Communist Manifesto and ends up meeting Karl Marx himself. Is he dreaming or is this reality? All through the episodes, Marx appears in the story, exposing his revolutionary ideas regarding social classes, the crises, the State and communism.

Migrant Dreams (1 hr 30 min)
Directed by: Min Sook Lee
Documentary Feature (2016) Canada
Program 19

The undertold story of migrant agricultural workers struggling against Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) that treats foreign workers as modern-day indentured laborers. Under the rules of Canada’s migrant labor program, low wage migrants are tied to one employer.

Mike Morningstar: Here's to the Working Man (1 hr 17 min)
Directed by: Richard Anderson
Documentary Feature (2017) U.S.
Program 4

The remarkable career of singer/songwriter, Mike Morningstar. Many of Mike’s songs are in celebration of the Working Man & Mike includes himself, saying simply “I made my living with my hands”. Mike Morningstar is a singer/songwriter born and raised in West Virginia. Born October 7, 1947, Mike began his musical career in 1964 when at the age of 16 he joined a predominately black rhythm & blues soul band. Four years later, Mike was drafted and sent to Vietnam where he was exposed to Agent Orange and other traumas that resulted in PTSD. Consequently Mike’s musical career as well as his personal life changed dramatically. His marriage ended as well as his career playing with large bands. Mike became a loner, both in his personal life and in his musical career where he performed mostly as a solo artist. It took Mike over 20 years to get to the point where he could describe his Vietnam experience in song with the haunting Neu Ba Den. Other songs describe the plight of the working Man and the environmental destruction coal mining brought to his beloved West Virginia such as Buffalo Creek and Coal Country Blues.

Nobody Dies Here (24 min)
Directed by: Simon Panay
Documentary Short (2016) Africa
Program 18

Perma gold mine, Benin. Some dream to find something, others realized there was nothing to be found. Some dig relentlessly hoping to become rich, others die in the process. And a few of them say that, here, nobody dies.

Northern Girl (6 min)
Directed by: Barbara Bentley
Narrative Short (2016) U.K.
Program 23

Middle class Emma has everything; the undervalued degree, a job of last resort and a growing cloud of debt. A 'northern girl', this ultimate achiever gets her big break in London, where the daily montage of life consists of clinging to the greasy career ladder. When Emma meets her partner, they escape back up north, but a directive from London makes Emma realize there's no class to being the middle; it's just them and us.

Oiltowns (41 min)
Directed by: Mark Street
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 16

Oiltowns traces boom and bust cycles in and around the Bakken formation in western North Dakota. Interviews with oil workers, longtime residents, ranchers and the homeless focus on changes that have animated the small towns. This is a sobering and poignant look at what happens to workers caught in a corporate race for quick profits.

On the Bride’s Side (1 hr 39 min)
Directed by: Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande & Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry
Documentary Feature (2016) Italy
Program 32

In Milan, five refugees of the Syrian Civil War and survivors of the October 11, 2013, migrant shipwreck in Lampedusa meet an Italian journalist and a Palestinian-Syrian poet who are eager to help the group reach Sweden, a safe haven for migrants. How can the group traverse the European continent from Milan to Stockholm without being stopped at the borders of Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden? What if they pretend they are on their way to a wedding party? What border patrol agent would ever stop a bride to check her documents?

Out Run (1 hr 15 min)
Directed by: S. Leo Chiang & Johnny Symons
Documentary Feature (2014) Philippines
Program 8

Facing the harsh, transphobic climate of the Philippines, three transgender hairdressers and beauty queens attempt to make history by running for office as candidates of the Ladlad party—the world’s first LGBT political party. The political hopefuls take to the streets of the Philippines and make themselves exceedingly visible as directors S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons immerse the audience in the battle for rights and acceptance. This rousing documentary reaches beyond just personal narratives, following the historic struggle of the Ladlad party in its attempt to bring its voters out of the shadows to fight for representation.

Punk Rock Politics (10 min)
Directed by: Rio Goldhammer
Films from the Frontlines (2016) U.K.
Program 29

The Revolution Starts Here. Punk rockers in the UK decide to join the electoral fight against Brexit. They learn that politics can be a bit less glamorous than they might have thought.

Rebellion (2 min)
Directed by: Nayvin Gordon
Narrative Short (1998) U.S.
Program 26

Claymation animation about the little fish standing up to the big fish.

Reykjavik Rising: Iceland's Untold Uprising (55 min)
Directed by: Danny Mitchell
Documentary Feature (2015) U.K./Iceland
Program 38

In 2008, Iceland was hit with one of the biggest financial disasters any nation in the world had experienced. In response, citizens took to the streets creating what has been called the “Pots and Pans Revolution”, forcing their government to resign.

Skywriters (27 min)
Directed by: Nils Otte
Documentary Short (2016) Germany
Program 29

High up in the sky: Right here, one of the oldest and last remaining skywriting families is working everyday. This documentary takes you on a vivid ride through more than 90 years of aviation history written on likely the largest canvas in the world.

Solidarity (21 min)
Directed by: Dustin Brown
Narrative Short (2013) U.S.
Programs 19 & 38

Two undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles, dealing with loss, unknowingly become connected in a mysterious and profound way.

Stones In the Sun (Wòch nan Solèy) (1 hr 35 min)
Directed by: Patricia Benoit
Narrative Feature (2014) U.S./Haiti
Program 18

It’s seldom we get to see authentic, complex and tactful character representations from the West Indies on the screen, especially in cinema. In Stones, we follow three Haitian immigrant families as they seek refuge in Brooklyn NY from the socio-political upheaval surrounding them in their native country during the 1980s.

Stream Of Doubts (10 min)
Directed by: Joseph Catté
Narrative Short (2016) France
Program 29

A young woman needs your help to find her life's purpose.

Street Vendors (10 min)
Directed by: Carla Franchesca
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 11

Street vendors face many problems in New York City. One of those issues is the cap that limits the number of licenses given to them since 1981, provoking a significant increase in black market deals.

Sunflowers of Nicaragua (1 hr 10 min)
Directed by: Florence Jaugey
Documentary Feature (2017) Nicaragua
Program 22

Sixteen female sex workers have been named judicial aides by Nicaragua’s Supreme Court to facilitate the resolution of conflicts that come up in their work. It is the first time in the world that sex workers have had access to this function. The film accompanies some of these women in their mediation work and in the actions they promote through their association, Girasoles (Sunflowers) of Nicaragua, to gain recognition and regulations for autonomous sex work.

The Better to Spy You With ... (3 min)
Directed by: Ben Benson
Films from the Frontlines (2017) U.S.
Program 38

Google's new smart city initiative, LinkNYC, is masquerading as free public WIFI. With the help of grassroots group, a kiosk comes to life and passerby’s learn of the mass surveillance hidden inside.

The Cave (10 min)
Directed by: Dominique Teoh
Narrative Short (2017) U.S.
Program 26

An investigative journalist explores life in an electronics sweatshop.

The Coal Minority (26 min)
Directed by: Helen Butcher
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Programs 16 & 33

After years of digging coal to provide for their families, three single mothers struggle to maintain their financial independence as mines shut down nationwide. The film follows Trudy Lund, who was laid off in 2014. Trudy’s struggle to find a job in the disappearing coal industry is contextualized by the stories of two other female miners also disadvantaged by age, gender, and changes in the economic landscape.

The Foodbank Film (15 min)
Produced by: The Living Well Film Group
Documentary Short (2016) U.K.
Program 20

A group of food bank users in South London interview food bank users to find out why they were living in food poverty and how they feel about using a food bank.  Their stories are both shocking and sad.

The Long Ride (1 hr 17 min)
Directed by: Valerie Lapin
Documentary Feature (2017) U.S.
Program 17

A timely new documentary about the historic 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride that sparked the birth of the new Civil Rights Movement for immigrant workers in the U.S. and the ongoing fight to fix the broken immigration system.

The Molly Maguires (2 hrs 4 min)
Directed by: Martin Ritt
Narrative Feature (1970) U.S.
Program 40

Set in late 19th century Northeastern Pennsylvania, this social drama tells the story of an undercover detective sent to a coal mining community to expose a secret society of Irish-American miners battling exploitation at the hand of the owners. Partly inspired by a true story, the film portrays the rebellious leader of the Molly Maguires and his will to achieve social justice. Starring Sean Connery and Richard Harris.

The Plough That Broke The Plains (25 min)
Directed by: Pare Lorentz
Documentary Short (1936) U.S.
Program 11

This documentary is about what happened to the Great Plains of the United States when a combination of farming practices and environmental factors led to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

The River (31 min)
Directed by: Pare Lorentz
Documentary Short (1938) U.S.
Program 11

This documentary short film looks at the devastating and costly problems, including seasonal flooding and erosion of precious topsoil, associated with the Mississippi River system and promotes more Federal projects to remedy the situation.

The Symbol of the Unconquered (54 min)
Directed by: Oscar Micheaux
Narrative Feature (1920, Silent) U.S.
Program 36

Eve Mason learns of her grandfather's death, leaves her small Southern town and travels west to inspect her newly inherited land. With help from her neighbor, Hugh Van Allen, she arrives at her grandfather's homestead. When the self-loathing Jefferson Driscoll learns that Van Allen's property sits atop a vast oil reserve, he teams up with a group of unsavory criminals to threaten Mason and force Van Allen off his land.

They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile (1 hr 30 min)
Directed by: Johanna Schwartz
Documentary Short (2015) Africa
Program 6

A feature-length documentary following musicians in Mali in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music. Music, one of the most important forms of communication in Mali, disappeared overnight in 2012 when Islamic extremist groups rose up to capture an area the size of the U.K. and France combined. But rather than lay down their instruments, Mali’s musicians fought back.  Donate to the Music In Exile Fellowship Fund at

Thirsty (1 hr 37 min)
Directed by: Margo Pelletier
Narrative Feature (2016) U.S.
Program 5

Where does a drag queen come from? A bullied boy from the projects finds his voice.

To Be Heard (3 min)
Produced by: Meerkat Media Collective
Films from the Frontlines (2017) U.S.
Program 2

In response to President Trump's executive order banning refugees and travel from 7 majority Muslim countries, Yemeni bodega owners across New York City organized a strike, closing approximately 1000 businesses.

To Serve and Protect? (7 min)
Produced by: Ghandi Brigade Youth Media
Films from the Frontlines (2016) U.S.
Program 1

We see it all over the media, but excessive use of force by police isn’t new. The only thing that is new is the video camera.

TWU GOTV Campaign: Back to Election Day (4 min)
Produced by: TWU International
Narrative Short (2016) U.S.
Program 33

Through the years, there have been some great movies about the political process in this country. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Primary Colors, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. But none of those even come close to a new movie premiering soon.

TWU GOTV Campaign: Real American Voter (3 min)
Produced by: TWU International
Narrative Short (2016) U.S.
Program 33

All those years we spent as kids, playing with GI Joe action figures, Barbie dolls and Star Wars play sets. If only the civic duty of voting were made out to be just as fun. The Real American Voter Playset & Action Figures might be just the thing this country needs.

TWU Local 100 Organizes National Bikeshare (5 min)
Produced by: TWU International
Films from the Frontlines (2016) U.S.
Program 33

TWU Local 100 helps organize bike share workers across the U.S.

TWU Local 223: 75 Years (9 min)
Produced by: TWU International
Documentary Short (2016) U.S.
Program 33

TWU Local 223 of Omaha, Nebraska celebrates 75 years of standing up and fighting for transit workers.

TWU Local 556 Wall Street (7 min)
Produced by: TWU International
Films from the Frontlines (2017) U.S.
Program 33

TWU Local 556 airline workers visit Wall Street for advice on contract negotiations.

TWU Takes On Fast Act (9 min)
Produced by: TWU International
Films from the Frontlines (2016) U.S.
Program 33

TWU members mobilize across the country in support of the important Fast Act Bill, funding transit and infrastructure across the United States.

UA Local 1 NYC Plumbers – POV Stories from Apprentice Plumbers on Working Life (Approx. 2 hrs)
Films from the Frontlines (2017) U.S.
Program 39

Workers Unite Film Festival is honored and excited to screen these 24 first person short films, approximately 4-5 minutes each, which were completely written, produced and filmed by the apprentice plumbing students as part of a pilot project by Empire State College/SUNY and The Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Education, and thanks to the Plumbers UA Local 1/NYC Training and Education Center.  They have been willing to make the leap into personal filmmaking in order to give each of us the view of what it means to be working hard every day, training for a more secure future and facing the ups and downs of being a unionized worker in the construction trades during this fluctuating economic recovery.

UA Local 1 Standards for Excellence (10 min)
Produced by: Union Labor Works
Documentary Short (2011) U.S.
Program 39

The United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinkler Fitters, HVAC Service Technicians, and Welders have set the bar for High Quality Standards in the Industry.

Where’s the Fire Engine, Daddy? (7 min)
Directed by: Barbara Bentley
Narrative Short (2016) U.K.
Program 38

Parody on the perils of modern bureaucracy and the privatization of public services in the U.K.

Within Our Gates (1 hr 19 min)
Directed by: Oscar Micheaux
Narrative Feature (1920) U.S.
Program 36

One of Oscar Micheaux's earliest surviving works. Although sometimes considered his response to the film Birth of a Nation, Micheaux said that he created it independently as a response to the widespread social instability following World War I.

Woman On Fire (1 hr 24 min)
Directed by: Julie Sokolow
Documentary Feature (2016) U.S.
Program 9

This portrait of courage under fire celebrates NYC’s first openly transgender firefighter. For Brooke Guinan, fighting fires runs in her blood – both her father and grandfather served in the FDNY. But as a transgender woman, her path to service has not been without obstacles. Transitioning from male to female in what is still an overwhelmingly macho profession proves a challenge for her coworkers and her family, while her boyfriend reckons with the impact of Brooke’s newly public profile on his parents.

Workers Voices: Sramik Awaaz – Bangladeshi Garment Workers Organize (1 hr 3 min)
Directed by: Mohammad Romel
Documentary Feature (2017) U.S./Bangladesh
Program 28

Law@theMargins Editor Chaumtoli Huq and filmmaker Mohammad Romel are collaborating on a documentary on the labor movement in Bangladesh. The film highlights the organizing efforts in the garment industry, efforts by workers to educate others on their trade union rights and in developing female leadership, as well as ways allies abroad can show solidarity.

Working Poor (25 min)
Directed by: Steven Bozga
Narrative Short (2016) U.S.
Program 25

When the rent comes due and his bank account has been tapped out, a single father goes to extraordinary lengths to make a life for himself and his young daughter in his working class neighborhood. This touching narrative film feels real in its story of struggling to survive on the edge.

Working Together for A Cooperative Future (15 min)
Produced by: CICOPA, CECOP-CICOPA Europe, & CICOPA Mercosur
Documentary Short (2015) Brussels
Program 20

The experiences, challenges and motivations of young cooperators in 9 worker and social cooperatives from 9 countries worldwide.

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Screenplays 2017

12 Days In Fun City
Written by: Joe Nolan
The Working Lives Screenplay Competition (2017) U.S.

A labor leader from the school of hard knocks calls a strike that cripples the city by halting all subways and buses while dealing with an inexperienced ivy league educated mayor, an angry city, hostile media, and unforeseen political forces that sabotage efforts behind the scenes.

Written by: Robert Seckler
The Working Lives Screenplay Competition (2017) U.S.

1981: Two Reagan fired air traffic controllers live to regret their decision to strike. One, an ex-Navy pilot, finds a position as a copilot for a small regional carrier. The other, heavy on education but light on experience, is hired by UP-Ex as VP of Operations. Neither is satisfied with their new employment. Both seek to retain their lifestyle. Together they combining their skills and positions to plan and execute the perfect crime: They hijack a UP-Ex flight. The conclusion is breath taking.

Farm Fresh
Written by: Jon Schabl
The Working Lives Screenplay Competition (2017) U.S.

Long-time Farm Fresh supermarket employee Andy Barsoum doesn't like the new management. He prefers to do things his own way. With the help of a rag-tag group of co-workers, he needs to decide if he wants to stay with the company.

Written by: Cory Huizar
The Working Lives Screenplay Competition (2017) U.S.

In the spring of 2010, the already depleted Fire and Police departments in Flint, Michigan were hit with more cuts. Hours before the job cuts went into effect 14 abandoned homes went up in flames. Before the jobs are restored by the Federal Government 150 abandoned homes will be burnt to the ground in just a few short months. Flintown is the story of a town in crisis and on verge of chaos.