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"Making Your Media Matter" Conference + Made in L.A. Field Report

The next day, after a round of meetings with potential outreach partners, we headed to the 5th Annual Making Your Media Matters Conference, organized by American University's Center for Social Media. It was a day and a half of interesting discussion around issues of social documentary-making, including an amazing keynote speech on documentary ethics, by Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin films.

It was an honor to share panel with Scott Kirsner, author of the CinemaTech blog, Maia L. Ermita, Director of Festival and Outreach at Arts Engine, Andrew Mer of Snagfilms. Wendy Levy, Director of Creative Programming of the Bay Area Video Coalition, was a wonderful moderator and kept us all in track! If you want to listen to the whole panel, Scott posted his audio recording of the panel on his blog -check it out!

Around the same time as the conference, the Center for Social Media released a Field Report that provides a "case study" of Made in L.A., from fundraising to distribution. Special thanks to the report's author, Kafi Kareem, and to Center Director Pat Aufderheide and Associate Director Alison Hanold for all of their help and for inviting us to be part of the conference!

And back at Georgetown too...

That night we headed to Georgetown for an event organized by MEChA de Georgetown (thank you Angie Bonilla!) and supported by the Georgetown Solidarity Committee and the Lecture Fund. A scene in Made in L.A. is actually set in a Georgetown class, when Maura visits DC to speak at several colleges about the launch of the campaign, and it was amazing to be back so many years later, now with the finished film...

The post-screening discussion was particularly fruitful, as many students in the room were doing organizing work on campus and were able to discuss the many issues that each organization is working on...



With the student organizers at Georgetown!

 

Made in L.A. back at the AFI Silver Theater

Robert and I just returned from a 10-day long trip to the East Coast. Our first stop was Washington, DC, where we met with a number of potential outreach partners and had two wonderful screenings...

The first event was at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center -where we had our world premiere at the Silverdocs Documentary Festival. This time we were showing Made in L.A. as part of their Educational Outreach Program, which is run by Matt Boratenski. Hundreds of high school students from three different high schools attended: Albert Einstein HS (ESOL), Rockville HS (AP English language) and Montgomery Blair HS (Social Studies). It was inspiring to watch as school buses arrived at the event...

The students asked wonderful, thoughtful questions, and the teachers gave really positive feedback. One teacher said: "Not only was the film incredible, but the reaction of the students (you could have heard a pin drop) was amazing...WOW!"

Special thanks to Matt (who moderated the event) and to Lynn Hughes, a friend and colleague who helped to get this event set up! Special thanks also go to the young and talented Gandhi Brigade, who videotaped the event -watch the video below!


 

An Unfinished Dream

I recently received an e-mail from a student at UCLA, Margarita Reyes, who embarked on her own production after watching Made in L.A. It was so moving, and her film is so needed, that I asked her to write a few words to share it with you all:

I am a single mother and had recently started as an undergrad at UCLA. I was touched by the stories of the women and mothers in your film. I was sitting in the audience of a screening with a friend of mine. My friend is an undocumented student at UCLA. We both grew up in the U.S.; the only difference is that I am born here and she is not. I know how difficult it is for her to attend school
financially and emotionally. I was so moved by "Made in LA", that once the film credits rolled, I turned to my friend and said, "I'm going to make a documentary about you."

I have a background in film as an actor for the past 10 years so I knew that I could pool my resources to produce our own project. I met our director, Andrea Ortega, soon after and we began production in April 2008. I talked about the inspiration of Made in LA at our trailer screening last night. We screened it to 4 different student organizations at UCLA last night and met with great praise and support for our students.

I can't thank you enough for making "Made in LA" because it inspired me to make our own "An Unfinished Dream" documentary for our undocumented students, coming Spring 2009!

Made in L.A. among top 10 films on poverty

Change.org's blog, "Poverty in America", has released a list of the 10 top videos on poverty in the US, including Made in L.A.: "This collection of award-winning documentaries, news stories, and advocacy campaign videos illustrate the range of faces and issues of domestic poverty. Portrayals include Latina immigrants in Los Angeles organizing for worker protections; two New Orleanians recovering from the impact of Hurricane Katrina; gentrification conflict in Columbus, Ohio; and educational intervention in the lives at at-risk boys in Baltimore". Read more at Change.org blog.

Made in L.A. receives outreach funding!

We're happy to announce that Made in L.A. has happily received funding from The Fledging Fund and from The Diane Middleton Foundation to continue our audience engagement work. There's much, much work still to be done and we look forward to continuing to share all of the film's accomplishments with you. Thanks so much to our funders, and to everyone who has supported us all along the way!

Made in L.A. - more international premieres!

A year and a half after its completion, Made in L.A. continues to premiere at festivals all over the world. In the coming months Made in L.A. will have festival premieres in Czech Republic, Tunisia and Argentina, as well as new screenings in Spain, Mexico, Israel and Canada.

Made in L.A. has also been selected as part of the French our of the Paris International Human Rights Film Festival, which will stop in 5-6 cities in France.

Stay tuned - we're adding new screenings every week!

Made in L.A. featured on "American Wetback" Blog

I was very moved by Random Hero's blog posting about Made in L.A....

"The movie pretty much chronicles three woman over three years as they struggle to balance their lives and continue the fight for their rights in the garment factories. It's powerful what they all go through, the lives they live, families they support. I got teary eyed whenever they would focus on their families because they reminded me so much of my own family. The struggles we went through may not be the same as theirs, but it certainly mirrors them.

"This really is an amazing documentary that opens more windows and shows the struggles undocumented immigrants face and can over come when they know they have rights, unite and fight the powers that be. That's what I loved most about the documentary. In fact it won an Emmy last year so I'm not alone in that view. Any Dreamie can relate to their struggle and like me see some of themselves and their families in the people in the documentary."

Read more here!


Made in L.A. featured on Fashion Blog 39th and Broadway


In the fall, the Fashion-oriented blog "39th and Broadway" featured a story about Made in L.A., which we just spotted. It's great to see the film moving through the fashion blogosphere and making an impact on readers concerned with where and how their clothes are made...

"Working in the NYC garment center today when you hear the word ‘sweatshop' it may evoke images of decrepit factories in Mexico, China or Bangladesh but that is not always the case. As many of you know the offices you are currently in were at one time factories and, prior to the Garment and Textile Union, would have been considered sweatshops. Where you are now clicking away on your Mac a young woman was once hunched over a sewing machine. That is why we should all have our eyes open to the exploitation of workers in our industry. In the US, sweatshops are rare but not extinct, as has been proven by Forever 21 and its sub-par working conditions in California. Now a group of filmmakers have made a documentary focusing on these sweatshops and the women in them. This is a must see for anyone working in fashion..."

Read more!

 

City Council Votes for a Sweatfree Ashland!

On December 16th, twenty-four days after our screening of Made in L.A. in Ashland, Oregon, the City Council passed "a resolution for a sweatshop free procurement policy". The Rogue IMC reports: "City of Ashland staff have six months to come up with the policies and procedures to insure a ‘no sweatshop procurement policy' and bring it back to City Council. The city currently spends $80,000 a year for uniform and garment purchases according to City Administrator Martha Bennett." We congratulate our partners at Souther Oregon Jobs with Justice, Ashland Sweatfree Campaign and all the peopoe who made this possible. And, of course: Congratulations Ashland!!!

To read more details and to watch a streaming video of the Ashland City Council's debate visit the IMC's website.

Made in L.A. wins Best Editing and Special Mention of the Jury at Atlantidoc, Uruguay.

Last December marked the celebration of the Second International Documentary Film Festival of Uruguay, ATLANTIDOC 2008 - based in Atlántida with a branch in Montevideo. The jury, Eduardo Galeano, Jorge Rocca (Argentina) y Sérgio Sanz (Brasil), "decided unanimously to give... a Special Mention to Almudena Carracedo's Made in L.A. (USA) for its eloquent portrayal during 4 years of a little conflict that expresses a bigger drama" The jury also gave Made in L.A. the Award to Best Editing!

I have to say I've been reading Eduardo Galeano's books since I was 20, so this recognition means a lot to me...!

•••
Made in L.A. gana Mejor Edición y Mención Especial del Jurado en Atlantidoc, Uruguay

El pasado diciembre terminó el Segundo Festival Internacional de Cine Documental del Uruguay, ATLANTIDOC 2008, con base en Atlántida y extensión en Montevideo. El Jurado del Festival integrado por Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay), Jorge Rocca (Argentina) y Sérgio Sanz (Brasil), "decidieron otorgar por unanimidad... una mención especial para "Made in LA", de Almudena Carracedo (Estados Unidos) por su elocuente registro a lo largo de cuatro años, de un pequeño conflicto que expresa un drama". Además el jurado también entregó a Made in L.A. el Premio a la Mejor Edición!

Llevo leyendo los libros de Eduardo Galeano desde que tenía 20 años, por lo que este reconocimiento significa mucho para mí...

Closing thoughts on our Pacific Northwest "Sweatfree" Tour

It was a beautiful experience to spend a week touring in the Pacific Northwest and to connect with audiences around the many issues that intersect in Made in L.A. Sweatfree Communities is especially aware of the importance of connecting immigration to Sweatfree labor, and so our discussions were deep and eye-opening for many.

Kirstin Beifus from SweatFree Washington summarized the experience: "The film brings the issue to our doorstep and rings the bell-and after meeting these women and their families one is compelled to answer. It reminds everyone working on campaigns and those interested in supporting workers rights why this work is important and who is really on the front lines of these efforts and has everything to lose: the workers. It is a galvanizing experience, as we are all consumers and thus support of the apparel industry with our incomes and our tax dollars so none of us is without responsibility."

We're especially happy that the events with Made in L.A. were able to connect the issues in the film with the concrete issues that each community faces, and to move people to action. Kristin noted, "[As a result of the tour] there will be more concerted efforts with sweat-free groups on UW campus, labor academics and community groups. SweatFree NW, with the success of the Made in LA Tour, is talking about organizing a worker's tour at the beginning of next year with SweatFree Communities." And Wes Brain added: "One success of the Made in LA tour, from my point of view, was how it strengthened how all of our various sweat-free campaigns in the northwest are "working together". We are on the same page and the name of that page is "solidarity".

Here's to many more!

Special thanks to all the organizers that were involved in making this tour a reality: Elizabeth Swager (Sweatfree Northwest), Kristen Beifus (Sweatfree Washington), Dick Meyer (South Sound Clean Clothes Campaign and Traditions Café & Fair Trade), Stephanie Celt (Washington Fair Trade Coalition), Star Murray (UWT SLAP), Alejandro Jimenez (Alianza), Wes Brain (Southern Oregon Jobs With Justice), Barbara Scott Winkler (Southern Oregon University), Liana Foxvog (Sweatfree Communities), and many, many more!

Pacific Northwest Tour -Ashland, OR

On Saturday morning we made the longest drive of all - all the way down to Ashland, OR, our last stop in the tour. The event, held at the Southern Oregon University, was organized by Wes Brain, Chair of Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice and Barbara Scott Winkler, Chair of the Women Studies Program and an early fan of the film (check her comment about Made in L.A. in our Audience Reactions page).

The event was hoping to gather support for a sweatfree ordinance in the city of Ashland, which was expected to come to City Council on December 2 (then posponed till December 16). "The City of Ashland should ensure that its employees' uniforms aren't coming from sweatshops", stated Wes Brain at the event, "SOJwJ and SweatFree Ashland are taking a resolution to city council on Dec. 2 so the timeliness of the screening is significant."

Read an article about  Ashland's Sweatfree efforts and Made in L.A.'s screening in Ashland Daily Tidings.

This event was sponsored by Women's Studies Program of the Department of Social Science, Policy and Culture (SSPC) , SOU Women's Resource Center and Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice.

Pacific Northwest Tour -Portland, OR

On Friday, Nov 21 we attended the celebration party for Portland PDX Sweatfree Campaign, to celebrate the first sweatfree ordinance in the Northwest! On Oct 15th, the Portland City Council meeting saw a huge victory for workers rights. Thanks to the collective effort of all sweatfree supporters who fought to make sure their tax dollars do not support sweatshops, the City of Portland supported the passage of the Portland Sweatshop Free Purchasing Policy, ensuring public employee uniforms are made under humane conditions including a ban on child labor, no forced overtime, non-poverty wages, the right to join a union and an end to discriminatory firings. For more info and to contact Elizabeth Swager, the campaign's coordinator, read the press release and the imc's article on the ordinance.

Pacific Northwest Tour - Salem, OR

On Thursday we departed Washington and drove south for several hours, all the way to Willamette University in Salem, OR. Despite the fact that this particular event was put together fairly quickly, there was a great turnout, and student organizer Alejandro Jimenez from Alianza did a fantastic job! We passed sheets asking the governor to pass state-wide sweatfree ordinances, thus moving student to concrete action, and union representative spoke about the Ford-hall Delta Drywall situation in Salem.

It was particularly moving to engage with high school students from the Willamette Academy who were in attendance. One student asked why we would even care to put so much time into this -if this was not our personal struggle, why care? It's funny, it's such a basic and important question. We each told the story of the making of the film, and our own personal reasons for doing it, and the great importance of resisting and calling out injustice and suffering whenever you become aware of it, whether or not it touches you personally. Heavy stuff. But she seemed moved...

This event was sponsored by: Alianza, the Lilly Project, Women and Gender Studies, and American Ethnic Studies.






 

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