Drawing the Tiger

Shot over seven years, Drawing the Tiger takes a sweeping view of one Nepalese family’s daily struggle to survive off of subsistence farming. Eat, pay their debts, stay alive—that’s their day-to-day reality. But when their bright daughter receives a scholarship to study in Kathmandu, the family’s prospects suddenly improve by leaps and bounds overnight. They rest their hopes and dreams on her narrow shoulders, but will the weight of their expectations crush her? Can she really break the cycle of poverty and redefine their collective destiny? She seems eager to try, promising to return and free her family from their hand-to-mouth existence. But when she doesn’t come home, the family is forced to face their fate. Is their future set in stone or sand; is it solid or ever-shifting? Drawing The Tiger is a powerful portrait of pressure and the price one family pays for their golden opportunity that reminds us of what we can and cannot change.
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The Learning

One hundred years ago, American teachers established the English-speaking public school system of the Philippines. Now, in a striking turnabout, American schools are recruiting Filipino teachers. THE LEARNING, from award-winning filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz (IMELDA), is the story of four Filipina women who reluctantly leave their families and schools to teach in Baltimore. With their increased salaries, they hope to transform their families' lives back in their impoverished country. This absorbing, beautifully crafted film follows these teachers as they take their place on the frontline of the No Child Left Behind Act. Across the school year's changing seasons, the film chronicles the sacrifices they make as they try to maintain a long-distance relationship with their children and families, and begin a new one with the mostly African-American students whose schooling is now entrusted to them. Their story is intensely personal, as each woman deals with the implications of her decision to come to the US, and fundamentally public, as they become part of the machinery of American education reform policy.
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The Price of Sex

An unprecedented and compelling inquiry, THE PRICE OF SEX sheds light on the underground criminal network of human trafficking and experiences of trafficked Eastern European women forced into prostitution abroad. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova’s feature documentary caps years of painstaking, on-the-ground reporting that aired on Frontline (PBS) and 60 Minutes (CBS) and earned her an Emmy nomination, Magnum photo agency’s Inge Morath Award, and a Webby for Internet excellence. Filming undercover with extraordinary access, even posing as a prostitute to gather her material, Bulgarian-born Chakarova travels from impoverished rural areas in post-Communist Eastern Europe, including her grandmother’s village, to Turkey, Greece, and Dubai. This dangerous investigative journey brings Chakarova face to face with trafficked women willing to trust her and appear on film undisguised. Their harrowing first-person accounts, as well as interviews with traffickers, clients, and anti-trafficking activists, expose the root causes, complex connections, and stark significance of sexual slavery today.
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Transnational Tradeswomen

Inspired by organizers at the Beijing Conference on Women in 1995, former construction worker Vivian Price spent years documenting the current and historical roles of women in the construction industry in Asia – discovering several startling facts. Capturing footage that shatters any stereotypes of delicate, submissive Asian women, Price discovers that women in many parts of Asia have been doing construction labor for centuries. But conversations with these women show that development and the resulting mechanization are pushing them out of the industry. Their stories disturb the notion of “progress” that many people hold and show how globalization, modernization, education and technology don’t always result in gender equality and the alleviation of poverty. Celebrating a range of women workers – from a Japanese truck driver, to two young Pakistani women working on a construction site in Lahore, to a Taiwanese woman doing concrete work alongside her husband – this film deftly probes the connections in their experiences. In a segment exploring the history of the Samsui women in Singapore (Chinese women who were recruited as construction laborers in the 1920's until they lost their jobs to mechanization in the 1970’s) unique archival footage and interviews with surviving Samsui offer an importation perspective on the historical and global scope of women workers’ struggles.
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Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night

In this insightful documentary, filmmaker Sonali Gulati explores complex issues of globalization, capitalism and identity through a witty and personal account of her journey into India’s call centers. Gulati, herself an Indian immigrant living in the US, explores the fascinating ramifications of outsourcing telephone service jobs to India—including how native telemarketers take on Western names and accents to take calls from the US, UK and Australia. A fresh juxtaposition of animation, archival footage, live action shots and narrative work highlight the filmmaker’s presence and reveal the performative aspects of her subjects. With fascinating observations on how call centers affect the Indian culture and economy, NALINI BY DAY, NANCY BY NIGHT raises important questions about the complicated consequences of globalization.
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Everyone Their Grain of Sand

This award-winning documentary reveals the struggles of the citizens of Maclovio Rojas in Tijuana, Mexico as they battle the state government’s attempts to evict them from their homes to make way for multi-national corporations seeking cheap land and labor. Filmmaker Beth Bird followed the fiercely determined residents for three years as they persistently petitioned the state for basic services like running water, electricity and pay for their teachers, only to be met with bureaucratic stonewalling. Eventually, several community leaders are targeted for persecution, and one is arrested while others are forced into hiding. Balancing these stories of hardship, Bird also captures intimate scenes of daily life in Maclovio Rojas, revealing hard-won triumphs such as the building of a school by hand and the graduation of an elementary school class. This compelling and ultimately inspiring documentary is an eye-opening look at the human cost of globalization and a moving testament to the power of grassroots activism.
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Europlex

The fourth in Ursula Biemann's critically acclaimed series of video essays that investigates migration across borders, EUROPLEX, a collaboration with Angela Sanders, tracks the daily, sometimes illicit, border crossings between Morocco and Spain- a rare intersection of the first and third worlds. Paying off officials to look the other way, workers smuggle contraband across the border, sometimes crossing up to 11 times a day. In a now common scenario of global economics, Moroccan women work in North Africa to produce goods destined for the European market. And in perhaps the most surreal example of border logic, domesticas commute into a Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory, losing two hours as they step into the European time zone. With a mesmerizing soundtrack and a dizzying blend of video footage, digital graphics and text, the film exposes a fascinating, often hidden layer in the cultural and economic landscape between Europe and Africa- revealing the new rules and profound implications of globalization.
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Escuela

There are over 800,000 students enrolled in migrant education programs in the United States and, of those, only 45-50% ever finish high school. ESCUELA, the sequel to Hannah Weyer’s critically acclaimed documentary LA BODA, personalizes these glaring statistics through the honest portrait of a teenage Mexican-American farm worker, Liliana Luis. ESCUELA is a clear-eyed view into the lives of contemporary Mexican American migrants and their struggles to educate their children while obtaining employment. Centered around the life of Liliana, a daughter entering her first year of high school, Hannah Weyer follows the back-and-forth movement of the family between their home in Texas near the borderlands and the California agricultural fields. Despite the best efforts of the school systems to accommodate students like Liliana, the social and emotional life of this young woman is constantly in flux. This is an important work revealing the difficulties of girl life on the border in a way that no textbook could. - Joe Austin, Popular Culture Studies, Bowling Green University
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Señorita Extraviada, Missing Young Woman

SENORITA EXTRAVIADA, MISSING YOUNG WOMAN tells the haunting story of the more than 350 kidnapped, raped and murdered young women of Juárez, Mexico. Visually poetic, yet unflinching in its gaze, this compelling investigation unravels the layers of complicity that have allowed for the brutal murders of women living along the Mexico-U.S. border. In the midst of Juárez’s international mystique and high profile job market, there exists a murky history of grossly underreported human rights abuses and violence against women. The climate of violence and impunity continues to grow, and the murders of women continue to this day. Relying on what Portillo comes to see as the most reliable of sources – the testimonies of the families of the victims –SEÑORITA EXTRAVIADA, MISSING YOUNG WOMAN documents a two-year search for the truth in the underbelly of the new global economy. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) Production.
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Remote Sensing

In Biemann’s film, she traces the routes and reasons of women who travel across the globe for work in the sex industry. By using the latest images from NASA satellites, the film investigates the consequences of the U.S. military presence in southeast Asia as well as European migration politics. This essay takes an earthly perspective on cross-border circuits, where women have emerged as key actors and expertly links new geographic technologies to the sexualization and displacement of women on a global scale. By revealing how technologies of marginalization affect women in their sexuality, REMOTE SENSING aspires to displace and resignify the feminine within sexual difference and cultural representation.
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Writing Desire

"Ursula Biemann’s WRITING DESIRE is a video essay on the new dream screen of the Internet and how it impacts on the global circulation of women’s bodies from the third world to the first world. Although under-age Philippine 'pen pals' and post-Soviet mail-order brides have been part of the transnational exchange of sex in the post-colonial and post-Cold War marketplace of desire before the digital age, the Internet has accelerated these transactions. Biemann provides her viewers with a thoughtful meditation on the obvious political, economic and gender inequalities of these exchanges by simulating the gaze of the Internet shopper looking for the imagined docile, traditional, pre-feminist, but Web-savvy mate. WRITING DESIRE delights in implicating the viewer in the new voyeurism and sexual consumerism of the Web. However, it never fails to challenge pat assumptions about the impossibility for resistance and the absolute victimization of women who dare to venture out of the third world and onto the Internet to look for that very obscure object of desire promised by the men of the West. This film will promote lively discussion on third world women, the sex industry, mail order brides, racism and feminist backlashes in the West, and on women’s sexuality, desire, and new technologies." --Gina Marchetti, Ithaca College
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La Boda

In an intimate portrait of migrant life along the U.S.-Mexican border, Hannah Weyer’s new film LA BODA delves into the challenges faced by a community striving to maintain their roots in Mexico, while pursuing the “American Dream” across the border. Weyer’s camera follows Elizabeth Luis during the weeks before her marriage to Artemio Guerrero, interweaving the anticipation of the upcoming wedding with candid stories that explore the architecture of the Luis family. For 22-year-old Elizabeth, migrant life has meant shouldering responsibilities beyond those of an average young adult. Along with her seven siblings, she has contributed to the family income throughout her adolescence and young adulthood, often forced to sacrifice school for fieldwork and social life for travel as she and her family move between Texas, California and Mexico. LA BODA tells the timeless story of a young woman’s coming of age, while also confronting negative stereotypes of the migrant community with the real life biography of a Mexican-American family bridging the gap between countries and culture.
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Performing the Border

A video essay set in the Mexican-U.S. border town of Ciudad Juarez, where U.S. multinational corporations assemble electronic and digital equipment just across from El Paso, Texas. This imaginative, experimental work investigates the growing feminization of the global economy and its impact on Mexican women living and working in the area. Looking at the border as both a discursive and material space, the film explores the sexualization of the border region through labor division, prostitution, the expression of female desires in the entertainment industry, and sexual violence in the public sphere. Candid interviews with Mexican women factory and sex workers, as well as activists and journalists, are combined with scripted voiceover analysis, screen text, scenes and sounds recorded on site, and found footage to give new insights into the gendered conditions inscribed by the high-tech industry at its low-wage end.
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Made In Thailand

In Thailand, women make up 90 percent of the labor force responsible for garments and toys for export by multinational corporations. This powerful, revealing documentary about women factory workers and their struggle to organize unions exposes the human cost behind the production of everyday items that reach our shores. Probing the profound impact of the New World Order on the populations that provide the global economy with cheap labor, MADE IN THAILAND also profiles women newly empowered by their campaign for human and worker's rights. Several of these women are survivors of the 1993 Kader Toy Factory fire, one of the worst industrial fires in history. Today they are highly effective leaders in the grass-roots movement mobilizing workers in their recently industrialized country.
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Made In India: SEWA in Action

This powerful documentary is a portrait of SEWA, the now-famous women's organization in India that holds to the simple yet radical belief that poor women need organizing, not welfare. SEWA, or the Self-Employed Women's Association, corresponds to the Indian word sewa, meaning service. Based in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, a dusty old textile town on the edge of the Gujarati desert, SEWA is at its core a trade union for the self-employed. It offers union membership to the illiterate women who sell vegetables for 50 cents a day in the city markets, or who pick up paper scraps for recycling from the streets--jobs that most Indian men don't consider real work. Inspired by the political, economic and moral model advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, SEWA has grown since its founding to a membership of more than 217,000 and its bank now has 61,000 members, assets of $4 million and customers who walk in each day to deposit a dollar or take out 60 cents. Following the lives of six women involved in the organization, including Ela R. Bhat, its visionary founder, Plattner's documentary is an important look at the power of grassroots global feminism.
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New Directions: Women of Zimbabwe

From award-winning documentarian Joanne Burke's series about women's empowerment in developing countries, WOMEN OF ZIMBABWE focuses on a group of five daring women who have taken up the challenge of creating their own future in the traditionally male field of carpentry. At its center is Fatima Shoriwa, an inspiration to many of her countrywomen. Owner of a thriving carpentry business, she also openly advocates education, family planning, safe sex practices, and economic self-sufficiency for women. The group's other four members are Fatima's apprentices, who range in age from seventeen to twenty-three. Shown at work as mutually supportive members of a collaborative team, at home with their children, and on visits to their families in rural Zimbabwe, all five offer unique insights into the choices and changes in their lives as well as the traditional customs and roles that have shaped their experience.
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Eternal Seed

With insightful interviews and rare footage from India's agricultural industry, this keenly observed film depicts Indian women's struggles to use traditional farming practices instead of chemically-based agriculture. Comparing the practices of women who consider seeds sacred with multinational companies' use of sterilized hybrids, this evocative analysis celebrates the scientific basis of women's native traditions in a provocative look at the evolving meanings of healthy land use.
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Amazon Sisters

AMAZON SISTERS portrays the vision and strength of women surviving in the hotly contested Amazon rainforests. While international attention has focused on saving the rainforests, considerably less attention has been paid to the plight of the human inhabitants of Amazonia. Women are at the frontline of the struggle to save their environment and to rebuild a region suffering the effects of inappropriate development. “A film which beautifully expresses the strength, humor and ability of the women of the Amazon Region. It sharply reminds us, however, that simply feeling romantic about rainforests isn’t enough. The need for serious support for both the environment and the health and safety of the people there is made abundantly clear.” —Margaret Prosser, National Women’s Secretary Transport and General Workers Union.
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Pain, Passion and Profit

From the director of Bend it Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice, PAIN, PASSION AND PROFIT is an inspirational look at women entrepreneurs through the eyes of the Body Shop founder, Anita Roddick, who has always maintained a strong commitment to the idea of “profits with principles.” Several women in Africa who have successfully developed small-scale business enterprises in their own communities provide a focus for Roddick to pose questions about how the role and status of women affects their enterprises and how those enterprises provide a means of community and economic development for women. PAIN, PASSION AND PROFIT gives an in-depth look at global feminism and economic development as well as a personal and spirited view of the connections between the experiences of women entrepreneurs in the First and Third Worlds.
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Hell to Pay

A moving and politically sophisticated analysis of the international debt situation through the eyes of the women of Bolivia, the poorest country in Latin America. Although most directly affected by government austerity programs, peasant women are assumed not to understand the workings of international capital and foreign policy. HELL TO PAY poignantly contradicts such assumptions as teachers, textile workers and miners’ wives speak vividly and with great comprehension of the causes of the debt crisis and the burden they are forced to bear.
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Love, Women and Flowers

At any time of year in the U.S., carnations of every color are plentiful and cheap – but the ready availability of these beautiful flowers comes at a global price. Thousands of miles away from the bright displays in U.S. stores, hazardous labor conditions endanger the 90,000 women who work in Colombia’s flower industry. According to a 2007 report, approximately 60 percent of all flowers sold in the U.S. come from Colombia, where the use of pesticides and fungicides – some banned in the developed countries that export them – has drastic health and environmental consequences. With urgency and intimacy, this film evokes the testimonies of the women workers and documents their efforts to organize. As women workers continue to struggle in this industry (in 2007 almost 200 workers were fired from the largest flower plantation in Colombia for their attempts to unionize and improve their conditions) this powerful and unique documentary remains an important resource for those interested in globalization, environmentalism, labor issues, social struggles, and Latin American studies.
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Bringing It All Back Home

This fascinating documentary analyzes how the patterns of international capital investment and the exploitation of Third World women workers in free trade zones are being brought home to the First World. Issues discussed include: the internationalization of local economies, the growing schism between the rich and poor and the changing nature of women's work.
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