Curatorial Projects > Let's Talk of a System (2010)

Sergio De La Torre and Vicky Funari
Feature documentary, running time 68 minutes

"This project brings together filmmakers, factory workers and community organizations in Mexico and the U.S. to create a film that depicts globalization through the eyes of the women who live on its leading edge. The factory workers who appear in the film have been involved in every stage of production, from planning to shooting, from scripting to outreach. Our collaborative process breaks with the traditional documentary practice of dropping into a location, shooting and leaving with the "goods," which would only repeat the pattern of the maquiladora itself. We embrace subjectivity as a value and a goal. We seek to merge artmaking with community development and to ensure that the film's voice will be truly that of its subjects." - Sergio De La Torre and Vicky Funari

Film Synopsis: Carmen and Lourdes work in Tijuana’s maquiladoras, the multinationally-owned factories which came to Mexico for its cheap labor. Each day these factory workers confront labor violations, environmental devastation and urban chaos -- life on the frontier of the global economy. In MAQUILAPOLIS, Carmen and Lourdes reach beyond the daily struggle for survival to organize for change: Carmen takes a major television manufacturer to task for violating her labor rights. Lourdes pressures the government to clean up a toxic waste dump left behind by a departing factory. As they work for change, the world changes too: a global economic crisis and the availability of cheaper labor in China begin to pull the factories away from Tijuana, leaving Carmen, Lourdes and their colleagues with an uncertain future.

Cast and Crew
Produced and Directed by Sergio De La Torre and Vicky Funari
Executive Producer: Vivian Kleiman
Co-producers: Darcy McKinnon and Annelise Wunderlich
Participating factory workers (scripting, camera, staging, sound): The women of the Chilpancingo Collective & Women’s Rights Advocates, Tijuana Organizational Partners: Grupo Factor X; Chilpancingo Collective for Environmental Justice, Tijuana; Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego; Global Exchange, San Francisco
Cinematography: Daniel Gorrell and Sophia Constantinou
Editor: Vicky Funari
Original music: Pauline Oliveros, with the Nortec Collective and John Blue
Sound design: Philip Perkins, CAS
Community Development Coordinator: Jesikah Maria Ross
Produced in association with the Independent Television Service

Special Mention, Outstanding Achievement in Documentary, Tribeca Film Festival; Audience Award for Best Documentary, Barcelona Women's Film Festival; Jury Special Mention, Green Film Festival of Seoul; Best Film About Borders and Migration, Contra el Silencio Latin American Documentary Encounter; Special Mention, Amnesty Jury, CPH:DOX/Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival; Cine Golden Eagle

Screening History
Over 50 festivals worldwide, including: World Premiere, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Feb. 2006; Latin American Premiere, Guadalajara International Film Festival, Competition, March 2006; U.S. Premiere, Tribeca Film Festival, April-May 2006; Contra el Silencio Latin American Documentary Encounter, Mexico City, March 2006; Green Film Festival of Seoul, South Korea, May 2006; Seattle International Film Festival, May 2006; Barcelona International Women's Film Festival, June 2006; Los Angeles Film Festival, June 2006; Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic, July 2006; Bioneers Moving Image Festival, San Rafael, CA, Oct. 2006; Copenhagen International Film Festival, Denmark, Nov. 2006

Let's Talk of a System

May 19 - July 3, 2010
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA

Photo credit: Scott Chernis