Join us for a film program that puts a spotlight on labour organizing and migrant labour past and present. This film program is guest curated by award-winning filmmaker and educator, Min Sook Lee. Following the screenings, Lee will lead a discussion with representatives of Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) and Marissa Aroy, Director of The Delano Manongs.
THE DELANO MANONGS | 29 mins | USA | 2014 | Dir: Marissa Aroy
The Delano Manongs tells the story of farm labour organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers who instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s finest hours – The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). While the movement is known for Cesar Chavez’s leadership and considered a Chicano movement, Filipinos played a pivotal role. Filipino labor organizer, Larry Itliong, a cigar-chomping union veteran, organized a group of 1500 Filipinos to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California, beginning a collaboration between Filipinos, Chicanos and other ethnic workers that would go on for years. http://www.delanomanongs.com/
THE HAND THAT FEEDS | 84 mins | USA | 2014 | Dir: Rachel Lears & Robin Blotnick
At a popular bakery café, residents of New York’s Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. But behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick. Mild-mannered sandwich maker Mahoma López has never been interested in politics, but in January 2012, he convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back.
Risking deportation and the loss of their livelihood, the workers team up with a diverse crew of innovative young organizers and take the unusual step of forming their own independent union, launching themselves on a journey that will test the limits of their resolve. In one roller-coaster year, they must overcome a shocking betrayal and a two-month lockout. Lawyers will battle in back rooms, Occupy Wall Street protesters will take over the restaurant, and a picket line will divide the neighborhood. If they can win a contract, it will set a historic precedent for low-wage workers across the country. But whatever happens, Mahoma and his coworkers will never be exploited again. http://thehandthatfeedsfilm.com/
Min Sook Lee is an award winning Canadian filmmaker with a diverse and prolific portfolio of multimedia work. Her doc filmography includes: the Gemini nominated El Contrato which looked at the lives of Mexican migrant workers in Ontario; Tiger Spirit, a personal reflection on reunification between North and South Korea, garnered the Donald Brittain Gemini for Best Social/Political Documentary; and Hogtown -a dissection of the politics of policing in Toronto’s city hall which was awarded the Best Canadian Documentary prize at the Hot Docs Festival. Min Sook’s documentary The Real Inglorious Bastards was honoured with the Canadian Screen Award for Best History Documentary in 2013. Her latest documentary, Migrant Dreams, a portrait of resistance amongst migrant workers in Canada, will be released in 2016.
Min Sook is a recipient of the Cesar E. Chavez Black Eagle Award for El Contrato’s impact on the rights of migrant workers. Canada’s oldest labour arts festival, Mayworks Festival, has named the Min Sook Lee Labour Arts Award in her honour. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the arts and labour movement.
Min Sook is an Assistant Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University where she teaches Art and Social Change. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersections of labour, border politics, migration, art & social change.
This program is part of 20/20: Vision/Hindsight, Celebrating 20 Years at WAHC. This screening is part of four months of diverse programming that includes music and dramatic performances, a group exhibition and programs for children and youth.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council in making this exhibition and its programs possible.