Made in L.A.
USA | 2007 | 70 min
The Emmy-winning film MADE IN L.A. tells the remarkable story of María, Lupe and Maura, three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops who embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer. Hailed by THE NEW YORK TIMES as “an excellent documentary… about basic human dignity”, and “a rousing true story of solidarity, perseverance and triumph” by VARIETY, MADE IN L.A. offers a deeply human story about immigration, the power of unity, and the courage it takes to find your voice.
Lupe Hernandez, a five-foot tall dynamo, has been working in Los Angeles garment factories since she left Mexico City at age 17. Maura Colorado left her three children in the care of relatives in El Salvador while she sought work in L.A. to support them. But the low-paid work came with a high price — wretched working conditions and an “undocumented” status that deprived her of seeing her children for over 15 years. At 18, María Pineda came from Mexico in hopes of a better life. Twenty three years later, substandard working conditions and domestic abuse have left her struggling for her children’s future and for her own human dignity.
These three women, along with other immigrant workers, come together at L.A.’s Garment Worker Center to take a stand for their rights. Against all odds, these seemingly defenseless workers launch a very public challenge (a lawsuit and a boycott) to one of the city’s flagship clothiers, calling attention to the dark side of low-wage labor north of the U.S.–Mexico border and revealing the social fault lines of the new globalization.
As the campaign drags on through 3 long years, the workers’ struggle yields hope and growth, but it is also fraught with disappointments and dangers. For Lupe, Maura and María, the long campaign is a turning point from victimization to empowerment – each finding strength and resources to continue, and making life-changing decisions that they never could have envisioned.
DIR Almudena Carracedo
SCR Robert Bahar, Almudena Carracedo, Lisa Leeman
CAST Lupe Hernandez, Maria Pineda, Maura Colorado