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Labor Film Series

9 Films on Screen

A joint effort of the Dryden Theatre and the Rochester Labor Council, the Labor Film Series presents motion pictures celebrating workers of the world. The first film program of its kind in the US, the series includes dramas, comedies, and current documentaries on important issues relating to work and workers, especially aspects of work often marginalized or absent in dominant commercial media. Our films from around the globe are selected to inform, provoke, and inspire.

This year's program appropriately focuses on workers’ struggles in diverse contexts: frontline healthcare workers battling COVID-19 in a New York City hospital (The First Wave); women garment workers in Bangladesh struggling to form a union (Made in Bangladesh); war-widows in Kosovo struggling to find work and provide for their children (Hive); unskilled American workers fighting to form the IWW (The Wobblies); union members struggling to adapt to the demands of new Chinese managers (American Factory); incarcerated individuals rebelling against racism and the constraints of convict labor (Attica); a family in Indiana struggling to sustain its pizzeria (Family Business); a day laborer in Serbia fighting to retrieve his son from a corrupt social services bureaucracy (Father); and a hotel doorman in Berlin struggling to maintain his dignity in the face of ageism (The Last Laugh). Common to these films is the story of workers' determined and unflinching response to the physical, social and economic challenges they face.

See you at the movies! For more information visit rochesterlabor.org and laborfilms.org

September 2, Made in Bangladesh (Rubaiyat Hossain, 2019)

September 9, Attica (Traci Curry, Stanley Nelson, 2021)

September 16, The Last Laugh (Der letzte Mann, F. W. Murnau, 1924)

September 23, Father (Otac, Srdan Golubovic, 2020)

September 30, The Wobblies (Stewart Bird, Deborah Shaffer, 1979)

October 7, American Factory (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, 2019)

October 14, Family Business (Tom Cohen, 1978)

October 21, The First Wave (Matthew Heineman, 2021)

October 29, Hive (Blerta Basholi, 2021)


Events in this Series

Friday, September 30, 2022, 7:30 p.m.

The Wobblies

Dryden Theatre

Labor Film Series This compelling documentary of the Industrial Workers of the World (or “The Wobblies” as they were known) tells the story of workers on the docks and in factories, sawmills, wheat fields, forests, mines as they organize and demand better wages, healthcare, overtime pay, and safer working conditions. Introduction and post-screening discussion led by Jon Garlock, labor historian.

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Friday, October 7, 2022, 7:30 p.m.

American Factory

Dryden Theatre

Labor Film Series In 2014, Chinese billionaire Cao Dewong opened a Fuyao auto glass manufacturing plant near Dayton, Ohio, six years after General Motors shuttered their plant there. For the local workforce, this represented a new opportunity for hope, to once again earn regular employment and security for their families.

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Friday, October 14, 2022, 7:30 p.m.

Family Business

Dryden Theatre

Labor Film Series A documentary about the American Dream, Family Business focuses on a single family in Muncie, Indiana. Howie Snyder has seemingly done everything right. After serving his country in the US Marine Corps, he returns home to his wife and nine children hoping to start his own business, purchasing a franchise in the Shakey’s Pizza chain.

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Friday, October 21, 2022, 7:30 p.m.

The First Wave

Dryden Theatre

Labor Film Series Director Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, A Private War) was given remarkable access to New York City health care facilities between March and June of 2020, the first four months the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States.

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Saturday, October 29, 2022, 7:30 p.m.


Dryden Theatre

Labor Film Series Sundance triple award winner and Kosovo’s official submission for the Academy Awards, Hive is a searing drama based on the true story of Fahrije (Yllka Gashi), who, like many of the other women in her patriarchal village, has lived with fading hope and burgeoning grief since her husband went missing during the war in Kosovo.

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