Synopsis

At a popular bakery café, residents of New York’s Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. But behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick. Mild-mannered sandwich maker Mahoma López has never been interested in politics, but in January 2012, he convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back. Risking deportation and the loss of their livelihood, the workers team up with a diverse crew of innovative young organizers and take the unusual step of forming their own independent union, launching themselves on a journey that will test the limits of their resolve. In one roller-coaster year, they must overcome a shocking betrayal and a two-month lockout. Lawyers will battle in back rooms, Occupy Wall Street protesters will take over the restaurant, and a picket line will divide the neighborhood. If they can win a contract, it will set a historic precedent for low-wage workers across the country. But whatever happens, Mahoma and his coworkers will never be exploited again.

Accolades and Awards

Audience Award for Best Feature Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham, NC (April 2014) Audience Award DOC NYC New York, NY (November 2014) Selection “Best of Fest” AFI DOCS, Silver Spring, MD & Washington, DC (June 2014) Jury Prize, Best Documentary Feature Sidewalk Film Festival, Birmingham, AL (August 2014) International Jury Prize Document Human Rights Film Festival, Glasgow, Scotland (October 2014) Audience Award aluCine Latin Film+Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada (April 2015) Audience Award for Best Documentary Chicago Latino Film Festival, Chicago, IL (April 2015) Best Documentary Reading Film Festival, Reading, PA (November 2015) Finalist, SIMA Awards 2016

Film Details

Release date: April 2014 Theatrical version runtime: 84 minutes Broadcast version runtime: 56 minutes In Spanish and English with Subtitles available in both languages

Film Credits

Written, directed and produced by: Rachel Lears & Robin Blotnick Executive producer: Alex Rivera Co-producer: Patricia Benabe Director of photography: Rachel Lears Editors: Robin Blotnick & David Meneses Original score composed by: Ryan Blotnick

Supporters

The Hand That Feeds is a production of Jubilee Films in association with Latino Public Broadcasting, Chicken & Egg Pictures and Vineyard Point Productions, with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This film was made possible by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, the Cinereach Project at Sundance Institute, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Hand That Feeds is a sponsored project of IFP, and received additional support from Good Pitch NY 2013, Sundance Creative Producing Lab & Summit, Independent Film Week Spotlight on Documentaries, and TFI/A&E IndieFilms Feature Doc Storytelling Workshop. Crucial early funding was provided by the Movement Resource Group and a generous gift from Neil Getnick and Margaret J. Finerty. Outreach and Engagement support provided by the Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund and the Ford Foundation. Special thanks also to the many Kickstarter backers who helped support our DIY theatrical release this Spring: Neil Getnick and Margaret J. Finerty, Katie & Robert Leary, Jules Bernstein, Michael Smith, Stefan Nowicki, James Stoehr, Edgar James, Karen & Jackson Lears, Susan Askew, NaNi Rivera, Jenny Backus, Caleb Jennings, William & Diantha Harris, Sarah Rasich, Mary Summers, Joe Blotnick, Daphna H. Mitchell, Ben Moravitz, Barbara Reilly, Richard Fox, Bryan Glick, Nicholas Carpenter, Valerie Smiley, Jennifer Golfman, Christopher Chafe, Greg Conti, Richard de Friend, Rochelle Gurstein, Dee Lord, Anne Pruden, Donna & Jerry Blair, Nelson Benitez, Regina Munch, Robert F. George, Allen Howard, June Blotnick, Sandra Rozental, Elizabeth Boykin, Diane Mohit, Camille DeMere, Morninglight Films, Michael Marrella, Alicia Ortiz, Paul Sullivan, Amanda Ronan, Gary Lenox, Stephanie Volmer, Norm Fruchter, Marisol Gonzalez, Jon Wiener, Robert Raben, John Summers, Ian Tunbridge, David Riker, Elina Sverdlova, Joseph Sanchez, William McIlwain, Hanaan Rosenthal, Tomasz Frymorgen, Nandini Chandrasekaran, Mike Gilbert, Callum Macrae, Michael Brassard, David Agan, Karen Fairholm, James MacKenzie, Benjamin N. Dictor, John Dennie, Abid Aslam, Eileen Conlon, Jason Parkin, Peter Winkler, Paul Dourish, Saya Woolfalk, Thisanjali, William P. Mitchell, Charlie Lord, Ann Fabian, Tom Angotti, Adin Lears, Marco Pennacchiotti, Eric Dirnbach, Tom Fritzsche, Jean-Christophe Agnew, Don Lawrence, Ken & Julie Plax, Michael Johnston, Seth Kertzer, John Perry Barlow, Bethany Haynes, Robert Cadwallader, Bob Johnson, Suzie Hennessy Graefen, Laura Naylor & Big Iron Productions, Sophie de Lignerolles, Lesley Newman, AnythingResearch.com, Sarah Branon, Steve & Jan blodgett, Victoria Miller, Bambi B. Schieffelin, Azod Mohit, Neelam Mohapatra, Bob Steelman, Martha M. Yee, David Riker, Kai Alexis Price, Rob and Aimee Parker, Nishka Chandrasoma, Jill Freidberg, Faye Ginsburg, Dinah Lord, Audrey Sasson, Michael Ugarte, Nell Timmer, Annie Koh, Kitty Higgins, Gregory Mihalko, E. Paul DiMartino, Steve McFarland, Nastaran Mohit, Susan & Vernon Keola, Ross Grooters, Shannara Gillman, Patrick Hubley, Peter Van Zundert, William Henry, Lorenzo Rosa, Cheryl Furjanic & Will Sweeney, Brian K. 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