Councilwoman

COUNCILWOMAN is the inspiring story of Carmen Castillo, an immigrant Dominican housekeeper in a Providence hotel who wins a seat in City Council, taking her advocacy for low-income workers from the margins to city politics. The film follows Castillo’s first term as she balances her full-time day job as a housekeeper with her family life and the demands of public office. She faces skeptics who say she doesn’t have the education to govern, the power of corporate interests who take a stand against her fight for a $15 hourly wage, and a tough re-election against two contenders. As Castillo battles personal setbacks and deep-rooted notions of who is qualified to run for political office, she fiercely defends her vision of a society in which all people can earn enough to support themselves and their families. An eye-opening look at entrenched power in American democracy, COUNCILWOMAN is essential viewing for Latinx, Immigrant, Political Science and Labor Studies courses.
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Great Unsung Women of Computing: The Computers, The Coders and The Future Makers

In the United States, women are vastly underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields, holding under 25% of STEM jobs and a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees. Great Unsung Women of Computing is a series of three remarkable documentary films that show how women revolutionized the computing and Internet technology we use today, inspiring female students to believe that programming careers lie within their grasp. The Computers features the extraordinary story of the ENIAC Programmers, six young women who programmed the world’s first modern, programmable computer, ENIAC, as part of a secret WWII project. They programmed ENIAC without programming language (for none existed), and harnessed its power to perform advanced military calculations at lighting speeds. However, when the ENIAC was unveiled in 1946, the Programmers were never introduced and they became invisible. This stunning documentary features rare footage and never-before-seen interviews with the ENIAC Programmers. 70 years later, this is their story. The Coders tells the story of two extraordinary women, Sarah Allen and Pavni Diwanji whose technologies revolutionized the Internet: Sarah co-invented Flash, the first multimedia platform supporting video, graphics, games and animation for the internet, while Pavni invented the Java servlet to allow web applications to respond quickly to requests from users everywhere. In The Future Makers, Andrea Colaço, a young MIT PhD, shares her dream of a world in which we interact with our smart devices using natural hand gestures, not static keyboards or touchpads. She invented 3D “gestural recognition technology” and co-founded 3dim to develop and market it. In 2013, 3dim won MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Prize and launched Andrea towards her dream of innovation and changing the world.
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Maestra

In 1961, over 250,000 Cubans joined their country’s National Literacy Campaign and taught more than 707,000 other Cubans to read and write. Almost half of these volunteer teachers were under 18. More than half were women. Narrated by Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, MAESTRA (Spanish for teacher) explores the experiences of nine of the women who, as young girls, helped eradicate Cuban illiteracy within one year. Interweaving recent interviews, archival footage, and campaign photos, this lively documentary includes one of the first Cubans of her generation to call herself a feminist and one of the first openly proud members of Cuba’s LGBTQI community. With wit and spirit, all recall negotiating for autonomy and independence in a culture still bound by patriarchal structures. Eight years in the making, MAESTRA highlights the will and courage that made the monumental endeavor possible and the pivotal role of women’s and youth empowerment in building a new society.
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Camera/Woman

Working as a videographer at weddings in Casablanca, Khadija Harrad is part of the new generation of young, divorced Moroccan women seeking to realize their desires for freedom and independence while honoring their families' wishes. Mother of an 11-year-old son and primary breadwinner for her parents and siblings as well, she navigates daily between the elaborate fantasy world of the parties she films and harassment from her traditionally conservative family, which disapproves of her occupation and wants her only to remarry. CAMERA/WOMAN, shot in vérité style, follows Khadija on the job, at home, and with supportive women friends who are divorced and share similar experiences. As it unveils the issues that confront working-class Muslim women in societies now undergoing profound change, this arresting film reveals that for Khadija, unbowed in the face of overwhelming odds, the camera becomes a liberating force.
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Skydancer

Renowned for their balance and skill, six generations of Mohawk men have been leaving their families behind on the reservation to travel to New York City, to work on some of the biggest construction jobs in the world. Jerry McDonald Thundercloud and his colleague Sky shuttle between the hard drinking Brooklyn lodging houses they call home during the week and their rural reservation, a gruelling drive six hours north, where a family weekend awaits. Their wives are only too familiar with the sacrifices that their jobs have upon family life. While the men are away working, the women often struggle to keep their children away from the illegal temptations of this economically deprived area. Through archival documents and interviews, Academy Award®-nominated director Katja Esson (FERRY TALES, LATCHING ON) explores the colorful and at times tragic history of the Mohawk skywalkers, bringing us a nuanced portrait of modern Native American life and a visually stunning story of double lives.
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Scarlet Road

Impassioned about freedom of sexual expression, Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton specializes in a long overlooked clientele— people with disabilities. Working in New South Wales—where prostitution is legal— Rachel’s philosophy is that human touch and sexual intimacy can be the most therapeutic aspects to our existence. Indeed, she is making a dramatic impact on the lives of her customers, many of whom are confined to wheelchairs or cannot speak or move unaided. Through her graduate studies and her nonprofit group Touching Base, Rachel both fights for the rights of sex workers and promotes awareness and access to sexual expression for the disabled through sex work—and brings together these two often marginalized groups. We follow her from conducting sex and disability workshops to speaking to the World Congress on Sexual Health about her mission to observing her overnight stays with severely disabled clients who blossom under her attention—with one man even gaining back lost movement and sensation thanks to his time spent with her. Rachel has made it her life’s work to end the stigma surrounding these populations; the depth, humor and passion in this positive and pro-active documentary will transform the way we see sex workers and people with disabilities forever.
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Apache 8

For 30 years, the all-female Apache 8 unit has protected their reservation from fire and also responded to wildfires around the nation. This group of firefighters, which recently became co-ed, soon earned the reputation of being fierce, loyal and dependable—and tougher than their male colleagues. Facing gender stereotypes and the problems that come with life on the impoverished reservation, the women became known as some of the country’s most elite firefighters. From director Sande Zeig and executive producer Heather Rae (Cherokee), APACHE 8 combines archival footage and present-day interviews and focuses primarily on four women from different generations of Apache 8 crewmembers, who speak tenderly and often humorously of hardship, loss, family, community and pride in being a firefighter. The women are separated from their families, face tribe initiation, and struggle to make a living in a community ravaged by unemployment and substance abuse. But while the women may have initially set out to try and earn a living in their economically challenged community, they quickly discover an inner strength and resilience that speaks to their traditions and beliefs as Native women.
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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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Sisters in Arms

Canada is one of a handful of countries that permit women to fight in ground combat. In January 2013, the Pentagon lifted its ban on women in combat roles. In 2016, for the first time in American history, women will be permitted to train as combat soldiers. Sisters In Arms reveals the untold stories of three remarkable women in the most difficult and dangerous military professions: facing combat on the frontlines in Afghanistan. Corporal Katie Hodges is a determined infantry soldier; Corporal Tamar Freeman, a trained medical professional; and Master Corporal Kimberley Ashton, a combat engineer and mother who has left behind three young daughters. Using video diaries filmed by the soldiers in Afghanistan and intimate personal interviews, Sisters in Arms tells their stories of loss and inspiration from a uniquely female perspective, challenging our perceptions of what constitutes a soldier.
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Dish

Why do women bring your food at local diners, while in high-end establishments waiters are almost always men? DISH, by Maya Gallus, whose acclaimed GIRL INSIDE (2007) won Canada’s Gemini Award for documentary directing, answers this question in a delicious, well-crafted deconstruction of waitressing and our collective fascination with an enduring popular icon. Digging beyond the obvious, Gallus, who waited tables in her teens, explores diverse dynamics between food servers and customers, as well as cultural biases and attitudes they convey. Her feminist analysis climbs the socio-economic ladder—from the bustling world of lower-end eateries, where women prevail as wait staff, to the more genteel male-dominated sphere of haute cuisine. Astute, amusing observations from women on the job in Ontario’s truck stop diners, Montreal’s topless"sexy restos," a Parisian super-luxe restaurant, and Tokyo’s fantasy "maid cafés", as well as male customers’ telling comments, disclose how gender, social standing, earning opportunities, and working conditions intersect in the food service industry.
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Made in India: A Film about Surrogacy

In San Antonio, Lisa and Brian Switzer risk their savings with a Medical Tourism company promising them an affordable solution after seven years of infertility. Halfway around the world in Mumbai, 27-year-old Aasia Khan, mother of three, contracts with a fertility clinic to be implanted with the Texas couple’s embryos. MADE IN INDIA, about real people involved in international surrogacy, follows the Switzers and Aasia through every stage of the process. With its dual focus, this emotionally charged, thoroughly absorbing film charts obstacles faced by the Switzers and presents intimate insights into Aasia’s circumstances and motivation. As their stories become increasingly intertwined, the bigger picture behind offshore outsourcing of pregnancies—a booming, unregulated reproductive industry valued at $450 million in India alone—begins to emerge. So do revealing questions about international surrogacy’s legal and ethical implications, global corporate practices, human and reproductive rights, and commodification of the body.
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Tea & Justice

TEA & JUSTICE chronicles the experiences of three women who joined the New York Police Department during the 1980s—the first Asian women to become members of a force that was largely white and predominantly male. In this award-winning documentary, Officer Trish Ormsby and Detectives Agnes Chan and Christine Leung share their fascinating stories about careers and personal lives, as well as satisfactions and risks on the job, the stereotypes they defied, and how they persevered. Intrigued by the image of Asian women in a non-traditional profession, filmmaker Ermena Vinluan explores her own mixed feelings about cops while honoring the challenges Ormsby, Chan and Leung embraced, and the far-reaching changes they helped bring about. Interviews with ordinary New Yorkers, leading advocates of law enforcement reform, and anti-police abuse activists consider proposed changes in police culture and explain how women’s preventive policing style, based on communication, contrasts with more reactive, physically forceful methods used by men. Humorous cartoons, lively graphics depicting cultural icons of strong Asian women, and original music enhance this nuanced study of race, gender, and power.
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Sweatshop Cinderella: A Portrait of Anzia Yezierska

In the forefront of early twentieth-century American literature about immigrant women’s lives, Anzia Yezierska’s work includes short fiction, novels, and essays, and her output spans 50 years. SWEATSHOP CINDERELLA, by award-winning filmmaker/historian Suzanne Wasserman, vividly depicts this Jewish immigrant writer’s amazing story. Arriving from Poland around 1890, Yezierska’s family settled on the Lower East Side, where she toiled in sweatshops and laundries, studying English at night. Defying her parents, she pursued her education and became a teacher. Twice married and divorced, she also had a daughter. At the urging of philosopher John Dewey, with whom she fell in and out of love, Yezierska devoted herself full-time to writing stories and novels in Yiddish-English dialect that won awards and rave reviews. Soon Hollywood, which turned two of her works into movies, beckoned her to write screenplays. When disenchantment with that world set in, she returned to New York, writing and publishing her best work between 1922 and 1950. Using archival stills and footage, silent film excerpts, letters, newspaper clippings, and interviews, this is a major contribution to our understanding and appreciation of Yezierska and her work.
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Ella es el Matador (She is the Matador)

For Spaniards—and for the world—nothing has expressed their country’s traditionally rigid gender roles more powerfully than the image of the male matador. So sacred was the bullfighter’s masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 law barred women from the sport. Visually stunning and beautifully crafted, ELLA ES EL MATADOR (She is the Matador) reveals the surprising history of the women who made such a law necessary, and offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena, the acclaimed Maripaz Vega and neophyte Eva Florencia. These women are gender pioneers by necessity, confronting both bull and social code. But what emerges through this mesmerizing film is their truest motivation—a sheer passion for bullfighting, in the pursuit of a dream.
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Tillie Olsen: A Heart in Action

This revelatory documentary is an inspiring homage to Tillie Lerner Olsen – a renegade, revolutionary, distinguished fiction and non-fiction writer, feminist, humanist, labor organizer and social activist. Politically active, class conscious, deeply joined to the world, Tillie countered the very core of American writing by immortalizing the lives of working class women and single mothers. Her short stories “Tell Me a Riddle,” and “I Stand Here Ironing,” galvanized the literary world and set in motion an essential new perspective on the lives of ordinary women. Filmmaker Ann Hershey tells not only the story of Olsen as a writer, but also documents her life as an activist. Extended interviews with Olsen during the last years of her life are deftly interspersed with footage from her readings, lectures and book signings as well as with archive materials and comments from notable feminists such as Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker. A perfect companion film in courses covering Olsen’s literature, this documentary is also recommended for women’s studies, labor studies, political studies and American history courses.
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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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The Phantom of the Operator

This wry and delightful found-footage film reveals a little-known chapter in labor history: the story of female telephone operators’ central place in the development of global communications. With an eye for the quirky and humorous, Caroline Martel assembles a dazzling array of clips – more than one hundred remarkable, rarely seen industrial, advertising and scientific management films produced in North America between 1903 and 1989 by Bell and Western Electric – and transforms them into a dreamlike montage documentary. As the first agents of globalization, this invisible army of women offered a way for companies to feminize and glamorize what was a highly stressful, underpaid and difficult job. Not merely "Voices with a Smile," telephone operators were shooting stars in a universe of infinite progress, test pilots for new management systems, and the face of shrewd public relations campaigns. As the work of operators has been eclipsed by the advent of automated systems, this artful piece of labor history also offers an insightful comment on women’s work, industrialization and communications technology. Refreshing and hilarious, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERATOR provides a wry yet ethereal portrait of human society in the technocratic age.
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Ferry Tales

Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short, FERRY TALES exposes a secret world that exists in the powder room of the Staten Island Ferry--a place that brings together suburban moms and urban dwellers, white-collar and blue-collar, sisters and socialites. For 30 minutes every day, they gather around mirrors to put on their makeup – talking not as wives, mothers, or professionals, but just as themselves. Sassy and honest, they dish on everything from sex scandals to stilettos, family problems to September 11th, leaving stereotypes at the door and surprising viewers with their straight-shooting wisdom. In broaching such topics as divorce, single motherhood and domestic violence, FERRY TALES goes beyond the surface to show us the realities of life for working women. A rare and honest look at the intersections of race and class, this heartwarming film is also a must have for women’s studies, urban studies and sociology departments. Utterly charming and often outrageous, FERRY TALES gives these unlikely heroines their moment in the spotlight.
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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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The Trickle Down Theory of Sorrow

Veteran experimental filmmaker Mary Filippo tackles issues of work, class and gender roles in this visually captivating and provocative autobiographical piece. At the core of this engaging autobiographical film is an interview with Filippo’s mother, as she recounts incidents of exploitation and gender discrimination she experienced working in jewelry factories in the 1940’s and 50’s. The filmmaker contrasts her mother’s quiet acquiescence with her own attitudes about the social injustices of her culture through a striking montage of images and audio clips - moving the viewer to consider connections between consumerism and global labor practices, motherhood, money and happiness. While her mother's attitude toward the social injustices she endured is one of resignation, Filippo’s is one of assumed but uncollected responsibility.
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Some Real Heat

SOME REAL HEAT explores the small and relatively new world of female firefighters in San Francisco and their upward climb to gain access to a male-dominated field. Armed with axes, chainsaws, muscle, heart and determination, six daring women demonstrate how they single-handedly turn gender roles upside down by putting their lives on the line everyday in one of the riskiest jobs around. As they passionately talk about the tools of the trade, overcoming their fears and helping others, they reveal the fascinating history of women fire fighters and the gender bias that barred them from officially entering the U.S. Fire Department until 1974. They also explain the important role women paramedics play in fire departments and the surprising number of medical emergencies that they attend to on a weekly basis – a number that far outweighs actually putting out fires. Uncovering the myth and reality of this dangerous profession, this inspiring piece intimately delves into the strength and character that distinguishes these women as true modern-day heroes.
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Africa, Africas

A rare collection from the emerging voices of African documentary filmmaking, this unique series daringly explores the social and cultural realities experienced in Africa today – including the infiltration of Western beauty standards, territorial displacement and high unemployment. FANTACOCA by Agnes Ndibi (23 minutes) presents the disturbing cultural phenomenon of skin bleaching in Cameroon and the challenge it is now posing on notions of black pride and identity. THE RIVER BETWEEN US by Maji-da Abdi (18 minutes) documents the alarming effects of war on a community of Ethiopian women and children who were forcibly relocated into refugee camps. LAAFI BALA by Fanta Regina Nacro (20 minutes) demonstrates the glaring causes of wide-spread unemployment and poverty in Burkina Faso, where few institutional resources and government support are available, and the debilitating effects this is having on women and youth.
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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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Women Organize!

WOMEN ORGANIZE! is an inspirational, half hour film that portrays women organizers across the U.S. who are involved in the global struggles for racial, social, and economic justice. In this film, we meet five women organizers of various backgrounds, peek at the campaigns they wage, and watch as they begin to pick up the tools to document their own transformative work. From working with high schools girls in a low-income neighborhood in Oregon to speaking out for Black lesbians and gays against homophobia or working with Asian immigrant women factory workers in California for decent working conditions, WOMEN ORGANIZE is an important film that should be used in women’s and ethnic studies classes and community based organizations.
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Hammering It Out

“This spirited documentary spotlights the experience of women in the building trades, specifically those women involved in the Century Freeway Women's Employment Project in Los Angeles. Framed by the story of a community-initiated lawsuit that resulted in hundreds of women getting trained to work on a billion-dollar freeway project, the film evolves into a primer on the feminist issues of equality, identity, and changing gender roles. Powerful testimonials by the women workers tell stories of the often unspoken gendered specifics of discrimination in the building trades: sexual harassment at the jobsite; negotiations about childcare and worker benefits; and the translation of affirmative action policy to the traditional practices of contractors and the historical conventions of the male worksite. The film demonstrates the importance of providing opportunity, embracing equity, and abandoning sexist traditions which deny talented women workers the right to support their families on a par equal with men. It also serves as a cautionary tale that warns that unless laws, policies, and conventions are changed, women workers may be forced out of their chosen professions, like the Rosie the Riveters, by bias and expediency.” Joseph Boles, Northern Arizona University
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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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Step by Step: Building a Feminist Movement, 1941-1977

"****Proving beyond a doubt that feminism began well before the 1960s, and that its players were not just the white middle class, this inspiring film follows the lives of eight Midwestern women, six of whom became founders of NOW. Set against a backdrop of decades of war, prosperity and reform, their stories beautifully illustrate the continuity and diversity of 20th-century feminism, as the participants describe the labor, civil rights, and political movements of the '40s and '50s that led them to take independent action for women. Using well-chosen archival footage, stills, music, and primary-source narration, producer Joyce Follet of the University of Wisconsin and consulting producer Terry Rockefeller (EYES ON THE PRIZE and AMERICA'S WAR ON POVERTY) offer a first-rate, panoramic-yet-personal view of the women on feminism's front lines." K.Glaser, Video Librarian
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New Directions: Women of Thailand

In Klong Toey, Bangkok's largest slum, Duang Prateep, a foundation created and run entirely by women provides empowering choices and role models to the area's residents. Part of Joanne Burke's NEW DIRECTIONS series about innovative women in developing countries, this compelling documentary closeup of the women who carry out Duang Prateep's mandate centers on Rotjana Phraesrithong, a remarkable young social worker who first came to Klong Toey as a poor, ill-educated country girl of twelve. As it follows Rotjana in her work with the women and children of Klong Toey, the film reveals how her innovative programs promote schooling among the traditionally underserved community's children. We also see how the foundation's struggle against the spread of AIDS and other health problems is vigorously supported by housewife volunteers from Klong Toey. A valuable resource for studies focusing on the transformation of women's roles in Asia and on educational issues in the developing world, WOMEN OF THAILAND has useful applications for community-based audiences as well.
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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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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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Troubled Harvest

This award-winning documentary examines the lives of women migrant workers from Mexico and Central America as they work in grape, strawberry and cherry harvests in California and the Pacific Northwest. Interviews with women farm workers reveal the dangerous health effects of pesticides on themselves and their children, the problems they encounter as working mothers of young children, and the destructive consequences of U.S. immigration policies on the unity of their families. Featuring an interview with Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union.
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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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Prescription for Change

Nurses: traditionally female, underpaid, and underappreciated. PRESCRIPTION FOR CHANGE presents a rare behind-the-scenes look at nursing.
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The Maids

Domestic service has long been branded as demeaning work: it involves long hours, menial toil and low pay. Historically, and not coincidentally, it has been one of the only occupations open to African American women in this country. As African American women have begun to move away from domestic labor into other jobs, white-owned entrepreneurial maid services employing primarily white women have arisen. This intriguing and articulate documentary looks at the history of domestic work since slavery and the ambivalence felt by African American women towards it. Offering a sophisticated analysis of the racial and sexual division of labor in this country, THE MAIDS! is an excellent resource for women's, African American and labor studies.
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Trade Secrets

Perfect as a training film or as an historical look at labor issues in the 1980s, TRADE SECRETS has been purchased by hundreds of colleges, libraries, community and women's groups. “An ironworker, a sprinkler fitter, and an electrician; all women who describe their jobs and the physical and personal obstacles they overcame to get where they are. In the 1970’s, because of jobs with new equal employment laws, women began to enter the construction trades challenging the traditional male world. Regarded with hostility and suspicion, not all women completed their apprenticeships to be fully qualified as journey women. One who did, an ironworker, describes how tired she was each day as work ended because of her refusal to give up. An Asian woman who had been a secretary for ten years, speaks of suing for harassment when she lost a job after refusing to go out with her foreman. A female welder tells of getting burns until she developed skills and the eventual love of her job. Marrying a fellow welder from the shipyards, she relies on him to help out at home in raising their family. A sprinkler fitter describes the problems she had with men on the job until they saw that she could carry her own share of the work. A woman who teaches skills to women entering the trades explains that she teaches self-esteem and confidence building to women more than the skills themselves. The greater financial power of women in the trades, and their new sense of identity as journey women are discussed in this film about some of the changes taking place in the workplace today.” -Landers Film Review
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From Bedside to Bargaining Table

This inspiring documentary looks at nursing from the nurse's point of view, encouraging healthcare professionals to work together to change their poor working conditions and gain self-respect.
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Women of Steel

For women who entered the nation's steel mills in the 1970s, the mill was a ticket out of traditionally low-paying "women's jobs" and in some cases, out of poverty. But any gains for women were short lived. WOMEN OF STEEL looks at a turning point in the history of American industry and the disastrous effects widesweeping layoffs and plant closings had on women and families, affirmative action plans, and the union movement. An important historical documentary which has an eerie relevance to women's place in the American economy today.
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What You Take for Granted

The tentative friendship of Anna, a feisty truck driver, and Diana, an upper middle-class doctor, provides the core for an unusual, intimate and moving look at women's experiences in jobs traditionally held by men. Based on actual interviews of forty working women, the film intercuts the story of Anna and Diana with fictionalized interviews of four other non-traditionally employed women.
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Killing Time/Fannie's Film

Part of the mediamaking movement that first gave centrality to the voices and experiences of African American women during the late Seventies and early Eighties, these two re-releases are no less groundbreaking today. KILLING TIME, an offbeat, wryly humorous look at the dilemma of a would-be suicide unable to find the right outfit to die in, examines the personal habits, socialization, and complexities of life that keep us going. In FANNIE'S FILM, a 65-year-old cleaning woman for a professional dancers' exercise studio performs her job while telling us in voiceover about her life, hopes, goals, and feelings. A challenge to mainstream media's ongoing stereotypes of women of color who earn their living as domestic workers, this seemingly simple documentary achieves a quiet revolution: the expressive portrait of a fully realized individual.
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