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This event was actually the seed for the rest of the tour, and it all started when student organizer Star Murray contacted us with the idea of doing a screening of Made in L.A. at the University of Washington at Tacoma. Star's enthusiasm lead to plans for a big event, and we then started coordinating with the Pacific Northwest Sweatfree Campaigns to turn an evening into a big tour...
Representatives from SweatFree Washington and SLAP came down to speak at the event and helped link the issues in the film with local actions happening in Tacoma and Seattle. There was also a really interesting conversation about how free trade agreements have changed economic conditions and force people around the world to migrate, which in turn ties the issues in the film with the global landscape. Finally, a union member made the point that that even though workers come and go from seasonal or temporary jobs, workers who learn the organizing skills shown in Made in L.A. at worker centers then take those skills with them to other jobs. Really interesting points...
Afterwards we went to have dinner with Star and UWT Professor Emily Noelle Ignacio
who told us that "the film does the work for me".
This event was hosted by: Student Labor Action Project @ UWT, ACLU Student Chapter, Black Student Union, Latino Student Organization, HOPE Network; and sponsored by: UW Tacoma Student Activities Board, UWT Arts and Lectures, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, UWT Diversity Resource Center and AVC Cedrick Howard.
The room was truly packed and as usual it was fun to hear the laughter of an all-student audience. This was a truly activist screening: a representative of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, spoke about ongoing campaigns, SLAP called on students to attend an action on campus the next day and a member of CISPES invited folks to a dinner to learn more about a delegation to oversee El Salvador's next elections. And the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, which is currently engaged in the Sweatfree Washington Campaign, led a discussion regarding bringing a sweatfree purchasing ordinance to Seattle, and passed flyers to send a petition to Seatle's mayor. Stephanie Celt, Director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, noted, "I hope it will help with our broader work on trade policy, to help people recognize how bad trade policy can lead to these kinds of circumstances, and to generate thought about what kinds of changes to our trade agreements might help avoid or mitigate this type of exploitation."
Kristin Beifus (SweatFree Washington) adds: "[Our goals were] to raise the profile of Sweat-Free campaigns working on campus and in the community by highlighting sweatshops in the US, and engage people to become part of these campaigns. The film was a call to action and Robert and Almudena made every effort to link the film with local initiatives. By the end 30 people had signed postcards indicating that they were interested in becoming involved with SweatFree Campaigns."
This event was sponsored by SweatFree Washington, the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), Labor Studies, Latin American Studies, Washington Fair Trade, the Washington State Labor Council and CISPES.
The event attracted 75 people -it was truly packed and we had an amazing discussion! There were some folks from Bridges not Walls, who talked about Tacoma's ICE detention center, where they hold weekly candlelight vigils. Other audience members described the law that allows the border patrol to conduct raids and arrests within 100 miles of a border and that, as a result, there are often controls and checkpoints in the region. Some folks didn't even know there were raids in Olympia, or that this detention center even existed right next door...
It was beautiful to be discussing all of this right there at Traditions, a place based on fair trade and packed with sweatfree goods and clothing. Special thanks to Beth Provo for letting us stay at her place that evening! Be sure to visit Marigold, Beth's hip fair trade clothing store.
We love the description of the Q&A in these two newspapers: "When Beatrice Chodosh and Ana Maria Badash set out to screen a movie about sweatshops, they hoped the film would change the way people think about immigration... The women met their goal Sunday... the movie inspired viewers to have compassion for immigrants, who often leave their families behind and work hard under poor conditions... ‘Some people got really emotional. They felt for those women,' Chodosh said". Read more at Stamford Advocate (in English).
The Spanish language press also picked up the story: "En el foro, moderado por Lisa Bergmann, de Crisol, varios presentes contaron las vivencias de inmigrantes allegadas a su círculo y hasta la forma como los mal llamados medios de comunicación social local, se vuelven cómplices de la explotación y el abuso". Read more at La Voz Hispana (in Spanish).
If you also want to organize a screening of the film, check our Host a Screening page, that includes everything you need to organize and promote an impactul screening of Made in L.A. in your community!
|With jury and Festival staff at the closing night|
The festival, FIDOCS (Festival Internacional de Documental de Santiago), now run by journalist Gonzalo Maza, was launched 12 years ago by Patricio Guzmán, one of my doc heroes and the director of films like The Battle of Chile and Chile: Obstinate Memory. Both films made me cry and inspired me to follow his example... And so it's especially touching to be invited to serve on the jury of FIDOCS' national competition, and also to premiere Made in L.A. here at the National Cinemateque in FIDOCS' international program (out-of-competition).
The National Cinemateque is, paradoxically, underneath the Government Palace, the building which was bombed by Pinochet and his US allies during the 1973 coup-d'etat, a scene that has been ingrained in my mind from the black and white footage that I have seen so many times... Our screening was very moving, and I was impacted (and relieved!) to hear the same responses and the same passion - "we have to use this to organize!" - that I have heard in other parts of the world.
The jury work was more relaxed than in Spain (only 12 films to watch), and we saw great films, really. We ended up awarding the first prize to a film that really impacted me: "The Revolution of the Penguins" (La revolución de los Pingüinos) by Jaime Díaz Lavanchy. It tells the story of Chilean high school kids who, fighting for their right to education, managed to mobilize the entire country for a national strike. After seeing the film, I sought out the director to tell him "amazing editing!" Later I learned that the editor, Pedro Chaskel, was the editor for "La Batalla de Chile"!
| At Neruda's home in Isla Negra|
Our Chilean hosts were wonderful and really worked to help us savor our time there: they fed us, they took us to see my beloved Pablo Neruda's home in Isla Negra, and they just took care of us with such attention and respect, that I leave Chile with nostalgia and the desire to return very, very soon!
Check out La Tercera's article about my visit and watch a video at Cinefilo about the festival with interviews to many of us (all in Spanish).
| With Francisco, Manuel and Ruben Codeseira, our amazing jury coordinator|
"Intent on capturing on film the atrocities immigrant workers are subjected to in making cheap clothing for U.S. consumers on U.S. soil, Almudena embarked on a journey that spanned five years and resulted in an Emmy award-winning film that showcases the struggles of immigrant workers, their bravery and the one thing that has been a constant in all their lives - never giving up on their dream to succeed in the United States."
The screening of Made in L.A., which was sponsored by Radio Adelante, a Spanish-language news program which airs each week on public radio station KOPN 89.5, brought together diverse panelists from the community who linked the issues in the film to the specific conditions of immigrants and other workers in Missouri.
Carolina Escalera from Radio Adelante described the event: "Radio Adelante invited leaders from the region's Latino community to talk about how the film relates to issues in Missouri. The panel included researchers, professors, community and youth leaders. Radio Adelante seeks to inform the public and spark conversations that give voice to Latinos in mid-Missouri because this group is often misunderstood or marginalized. The movie and the panel helped create a forum for conversations on work conditions, language barriers, community advocacy and leadership. Radio Adelante is proud to be a part of promoting conversations like this one. Made In L.A. helps people learn about others and realize that most people are searching for the same things in life... If you haven't seen the movie, we hope you do!"
I spent the last weekend traveling through the Midwest. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the organizers of the new Cine Club Hispano invited me to come screen Made in L.A. as their launch event. It was an inpiring event and I asked Ximena, of the organizers, to write something about the event. Her words couldn't be more beautiful...
|Ximena Castaneda and Margarita Vega-Treviño introduce the event|
"The messages of the documentary Made in L.A. and its producer Almudena Carracedo were like seeds in fertile land during the launch of the First Cine Club Hispano of the city last September 17th. Since Oklahoma approved last November one of the harshest laws against undocumented immigrants, hundreds of Latino leaders have united to fight for the respect of human rights. To reclaim the positive image of Latinos, who contribute so much to the economic growth of this country, has been a priority.
In this context Margarita Vega-Treviño, director of the Hispano de Tulsa newspaper (the oldest in the Oklahoma Northwest) and I decided to create the Latino Cine Club in the Circle Cinema theater. With the goal of initiating an open dialogue inside the community, through Latino cinema, that promotes a better understanding of social, historical, political and cultural reality of the Latin-American nations."
Academics, representatives from important organizations, religious leaders, students, organized women and heads of households attended this unforgettable night. "It is possible to transform fear into justice", asserted one of the participants, referring to the current situation of undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma. Her words "May the film inspire each of us to work for those who are suffering because of their ignorance of their rights!" -made the crowd erupt into applause.
The film Made in L.A., which served to inaugurate the Cine Club Latino of Tulsa, was such an interactive journey of personal growth. It started with the story lived by María, Maura and Lupe in their search for their rights as garment workers. It ended with the public completely moved and inspired, full of questions and eager to start looking, inside their own reality, for their own answers."
Journalist and staff writer of Hispano de Tulsa
He pasado el último fin de semana viajando por el Midwest. En Tulsa, Oklahoma, las organizadoras del nuevo Cine Club Hispano me invitaron a presentar Made in L.A., como evento de lanzamiento de la organización. El evento fue muy emotivo, y le pregunté a Ximena, una de las organizadoras, que escribiera algo sobre ello. Sus palabras no podrían ser más bonitas...
|Ximena Castaneda y Margarita Vega-Treviño presentando el evento|
Desde que el primero de noviembre del año anterior, fuera aprobada en Oklahoma una de las leyes más fuertes en contra de los inmigrantes indocumentados, cientos de líderes latinos se han unido para luchar por el respeto de sus derechos humanos. Reivindicar el nombre de los latinos, que tanto contribuyen al crecimiento económico de este país, ha sido desde entonces una prioridad.
Dentro de este marco, Margarita Vega-Treviño, directora del periódico Hispano de Tulsa (el más antiguo del noroeste de Oklahoma) y yo Ximena Castañeda, periodista y escritora del mismo medio, decidimos formar el Cine Club en el teatro Circle Cinema. Con el objetivo de "iniciar un dialogo abierto dentro de la comunidad, a través del cine latino, que promueva un mayor entendimiento de las realidades sociales, históricas, políticas y culturales de las naciones Latinoamericanas".
Académicos, representantes de importantes organizaciones, líderes religiosos, estudiantes, mujeres organizadas y padres de familia acudieron a esta inolvidable velada.
"Es posible transformar el miedo por la justicia" afirmó una de las participantes al referirse específicamente a la situación actual de los indocumentados en Oklahoma. Sus palabras: "Que la película nos impulse a cada uno de nosotros a trabajar por aquellos que están sufriendo a causa del desconocimiento de sus derechos", arrancaron los aplausos de los allí presentes.
La película Made in L.A. que inauguró el Cine Club Latino de Tulsa, fue todo un viaje interactivo de crecimiento personal. Comenzó con la historia vivida durante tres años por María, Maura y Lupe, en su búsqueda por el reconocimiento de los derechos de los trabajadores de la costura. Terminó con un público totalmente conmovido e inspirado, lleno de preguntas e inquieto por empezar a buscar dentro de su realidad, respuestas propias."
Periodista y escritora de Hispano de Tulsa
The story of how this event came about is particularly beautiful. Last May, at the end of the awards ceremony at the Council on Foundations Conference, where Made in L.A. received the Henry Hampton Award, we had the opportunity to meet Darryl Lester, head of the Community Investment Network (CIN). He expressed interest in Made in L.A. and we offered to send him a DVD so that he could see the film. A few months later Dionne Lester from CIN sent us the most beautiful e-mail explaining how moved she and Darryl had been by the film and inviting us to come show the film at their national conference!
The Community Investment Network (CIN), which was launched with the help of the Ford Foundation, is cultivating a new cadre of philanthropic leaders from communities of color who recognize their civic responsibilities and their power to influence mainstream philanthropy. With the goal of leveraging its social capital and charitable giving to create the communities it wishes to see, CIN is currently composed of nine giving circles of more than 130 new and seasoned philanthropists.
| Don't we look tired...?|
[Photo courtesy of FIND]
| Robert, Peter, Sandi and me after the panel|
As if a whole week at the market was not enough, on Saturday afternoon, we had arranged to do a case study for Doculinkers in New York, and we spent 4 hours telling the story of how we raised funds to make Made in L.A. and how our funding model worked.And, because Robert and I are not happy if we don't pack our schedule, we also held a beautiful screening of Made in L.A. at the North Star Fund, organized in collaboration with Arts Engine. It was a very very nice, intimate screening where we got to discuss the process of making Made in L.A. and how we're using the film to make an impact.
Acceptance speeches provide a unique opportunity to say "thank you", since this film could not have been made without the care, support and encouragement of literally hundreds of people. And so we took the moment to thank our families, our friends, our amazing crew, the organizations that believed in us (including NALIP and our fiscal sponsor Women Make Movies), and the hundreds of individuals that have supported this film throughout its journey. Special thanks must also go to our Executive Producers Simon Kilmurry, Cara Mertes and Sally Jo Fifer, and to Cynthia Lopez, Annelise Wunderlich and the amazing teams at American Documentary | P.O.V. and ITVS that took such care and devotion in bringing Made in L.A. to a national audience. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to PBS and to our funders ITVS, POV, the Sundance Documentary Fund, Latino Public Broadcasting, CPB, Pacific Pioneer Fund, Unitarian Universalist Fund for a Just Society, Diane Middleton Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Agape Foundation, and nearly 300 individual donors. Finally, we thank our outreach partners for helping us to spread the word and make an impact!
Above all, we owe the deepest, most personal thanks to the people in the film and to the three amazing women in Made in L.A., Lupe, Maria and Maura, who opened their lives to us and allowed us to capture and portray their stories in Made in L.A. As we said in front of more than 1,200 attendees on Monday night, we dedicate this award to them, because it was their fight for their rights and personal dignity that taught us the true meaning of courage and perseverance.