Acclaimed Border Documentary, MAQUILAPOLIS, 10th Anniversary Screening (July 6)

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Acclaimed Border Documentary, MAQUILAPOLIS, 10th Anniversary Screening (July 6)

July 6, 2016

Environmental Health Coalition invites you to Maquilapolis documentary film viewing!


After the Annual Celebration, One People, Una Frontera, in April 2016, where the EHC invited guest speaker co-producer of Maquilapolis documentary film, Sergio De La Torre, they received many inquiries about the film.

EHC has worked in the border region on social and environmental justice issues for over 20 years and collaborated extensively with the film crew over 10 years ago – even having one of our community action team leaders as one of their protagonists in the documentary, Lourdes Luján.

While the film was released 10 years ago, issues are still relevant and ongoing and serve as a conversation starter.

We are excited to host this viewing, Wednesday July 6th, at 6PM at the Digital Gym Cinema. Join us for a nice mix and creative dialogue. Suggested contribution is $8 per person. We hope to see you there!




A film by Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre

A co-production of the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

A project of Creative Capital.

This fim was supported by a grant from the Sundance Institue Documentary Fund.



Carmen works the graveyard shift in one of Tijuana’s maquiladoras, the multinationally-owned factories that came to Mexico for its cheap labor. After making television components all night, Carmen comes home to a shack she built out of recycled garage doors, in a neighborhoo with no sewage lines or electricity. She suffers from kidney damage and lead poisoning from her years of exposure to toxic chemicals. She earns six dollars a day. But Carmen is not a victim. She is a dynamic young woman, busy making a life for herself and her children.

As Carmen and a million other maquiladora workers produce televisions, electrical cables, toys, clothes, batteries and IV tubes, they weave the very fabric of life for consumer nations. They also confront labor violations, environmental devastation, and urban chaos — life on the frontiers of the global economy. In MAQUILAPOLIS, Carmen and her colleague 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 in 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.



To create MAQUILAPOLIS, the filmmakers brought together factory workers in Tijuana and community organizations in Mexico and the U.S. to collaborate on a film that depicts globalization through the eyes of the women who live on its leading edge. The factory workes who appear in the film have been involved in every stage of production, from planning to shooting, from scripting to outreach. Theis 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. The process embraces subjectivity as a value and a goal. It merges artmaking with community development to ensure that the film’s voice will be truly that of its subjects.


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