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Hello friends and members of my communities,
I’m writing with news about a feature documentary I’ve been working on for the past three years. The film is called Migrant Dreams.
The documentary features the voices of migrant women workers, who work as vegetable packers in greenhouses, through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Migrant Dreams exposes the underbelly of the Canadian government labour program that has built a system designed to empower brokers and growers to exploit, dehumanize and deceive migrant workers who have virtually no access to support or information in their own language. Workers willing to pay exorbitant fees to work at minimum wage jobs packing the fruits and vegetables we eat in our homes. Migrant workers who deserve basic labour and human rights. Canada it seems, has failed them
This film is a call to action and an opportunity to build a broad based movement in solidarity with migrant workers in Canada. The economic and political agenda that constructs migrant workers as vulnerable is the same agenda that pits low wage Canadian workers against each other. Many committed colleagues worked with me on this film - producer Lisa Valencia-Svensson, cinematographer Iris Ng, editor Dave Kazala, associate producer Mariam Zaidi and composer Ken Myhr. The beautiful artwork you see on the website and in our promotional materials was created by Mary Tremonte, a member of Just Seeds. This film was made possible because of the activist work of Justicia for Migrant Workers. http://www.justicia4migrantworkers.org/index.htm, organizers Evelyn Encalada Grez and Chris Ramsaroop were gracious in allowing my cameras to be witness to their organizing work on the ground.
MIGRANT DREAMS has been selected for presentation at the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in Toronto and will enjoy its world premiere on International Worker’s Day, May 1st, 2016.
Also during the month of May, the film wil play at the DOXA documentary festival in Vancouver
and the NorthWest Festival in Edmonton.
MIGRANT DREAMS will be broadcast in Ontario on TVO and nationally on OMNI television.
The migrant workers who participated in this documentary did so at great personal risk to their livelihoods. In 2000, I was threatened with a million- dollar libel suit because I made a documentary about Mexican migrant workers in Ontario. You can view El Contrato here https://www.nfb.ca/film/el_contrato Because growers tried to shut down El Contrato, I understand how real the stakes are. And how litigious the employers are. But for the workers, participating in this documentary pushed the stakes even further. They risk job loss and other potential threats for speaking out on camera. They concede their own individual circumstances may never change, but by participating in MIGRANT DREAMS, by telling their stories – perhaps there will be change for another worker down the road. This to me is a critical act of resistance and solidarity.
I hope you are able to come to one of the festival screenings or view the doc when it is broadcast. We will be organizing community screenings across the country and we will be making DVDs or online streaming available. You can keep up with all the latest news on the film, screening details from this website:
Please feel free to share this message with your friends and networks,