Hand That Feeds, The Directed
Rachel Lears, Robin Blotnick USA / 2014 / 88 minutes New York Premiere
English, Spanish with subtitles
Times and Venues:
Q&A Attendees *subject to change: Robin Blotnick, Rachel Lears
SYNOPSIS: The Hand That Feeds shows what solidarity can do when a small group of restaurant workers in New York City go from invisible laborers to budding union members. In this classic underdog story, we witness the courageous actions of undocumented workers at the Hot and Crusty café in NY City’s Upper East Side. Although they are smiling on the job, these workers are subjected to sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers who threaten to fire them for calling in sick. When mild-mannered sandwich man Mahoma Lopez has finally had enough, he convinces a few of his co-workers to join him in protest.
Risking deportation and loss of livelihood, the workers, joined by a crew of young organizers, ride out a year-long roller coaster of events to set a historic precedent for low-wage workers. Watching them in action is a deeply humanizing experience that will change how we view peoples’ struggle for rights and activism in general. –Ben F. Fischer
BIO: Rachel Lears's award-winning first feature doc Birds of Passage (2010) was supported by Fulbright and the National Film Institute of Uruguay, had two community screening tours of Uruguay sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Culture, and was broadcast nationally throughout Latin America. Her ongoing video art collaborations with artist Saya Woolfalk have screened at numerous galleries and museums worldwide since 2008. Rachel was a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, and also holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from NYU.
Robin Blotnick's first documentary, Chocolate Country (2006), received a Grand Jury Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival, was a winner in LinkTV’s ViewChange competition, and is used as a teaching tool by educators and Fair Trade advocates around the world. His feature documentary debut, Gods and Kings, about masks, magic and media in the highlands of Guatemala, won the Intangible Culture Prize at the RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Films (Scotland, 2013) and was the opening night film at Ethnocineca (Vienna, 2014). Robin is also a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow.
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