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.
Audience Award for Best Feature
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham, NC (April 2014)
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)
aluCine Latin Film+Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada (April 2015)
Audience Award for Best Documentary
Chicago Latino Film Festival, Chicago, IL (April 2015)
Reading Film Festival, Reading, PA (November 2015)
Finalist, SIMA Awards 2016
Release date: April 2014
Theatrical version runtime: 84 minutes
Broadcast version runtime: 56 minutes
In Spanish and English with Subtitles available in both languages
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:
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