Sunday, May 24, 2009

"H-2 Worker" Available on DVD

"'H-2 Worker' is that rare hybrid that succeeds as both film and advocacy. The documentary's look and form is smooth and sophisticated ... it solidly frames issues about the economy, employment and the treatment of workers who seem just steps away from slavery.”--New York Times

The award-winning "H-2 Worker" is available for the first time ever on DVD. The film won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Cinematography Award at Sundance Film Festival and was selected as the U.S. representative during the prestigious Critics Week at Cannes Film Festival. From acclaimed director Stephanie Black ("Life and Debt," "Africa Unite"), this hard-hitting documentary is still a timely exposé of the abuse and exploitation that characterizes temporary agricultural guest worker employment in the United States.

Each year, from World War II through the mid-1990s, over 10,000 Caribbean men were granted temporary guestwork (“H-2”) visas to cut sugar cane in Florida—a task so brutal Americans refused to do it. Spending six months near Lake Okeechobee, the men were housed in overcrowded barracks, denied adequate treatment for frequent on-the-job injuries, and paid less than minimum wage. Faced with deportation and soaring unemployment in their home countries, workers had little recourse but to silently accept these deplorable conditions. The scandal of the H-2 program began in 1942 when U.S, Sugar Corporation was indicted for peonage of black American workers. In 1943 the first West Indian cane cutters were brought in. Filmed clandestinely, "H-2 Worker" exposes this travesty of justice, which remained a well-kept secret for decades.

"H-2 Worker" is beautifully shot by Maryse Alberti ("The Wrestler") and seamlessly edited by the late John Mullen. Originally released in 1990, today "H-2 Worker" provides an invaluable resource to understanding current debate over expanded guest worker provisions of immigration legislation. In January 2009, Bush administration regulations went into effect making it easier to hire foreign workers and reduce worker protection under the H-2A agricultural guestworker program. While Florida's sugar cane cutters have been replaced by mechanical harvesters, guest worker programs have expanded in agriculture, hotel, restaurant, forestry, and other industries. "H-2 Worker" illuminates how our foreign worker program continues to benefit employers at the expense of vulnerable, underpaid workers.

About the DVD
The DVD includes an 18 minute video update made in 2009 about the present expansion of H-2A and H-2B guestworker programs in the U.S. The documentary highlights the fundamental flaws in the H-2 programs to be addressed as Congress debates current immigration reform--an invaluable educational tool for learning about the history of the guestworker program and present day discourse.

Special Features:
• Filmmaker Audio Commentary
• More Than Luck Short Film
• Life and Debt Trailer
• Spanish Subtitles

"H-2 Worker" Trailer
"H-2 Worker" Website

Order the DVD for Educational Use
"H-2 Worker" DVD 70 Min + Extras Color 4:3 Stereo Audio

Licensed for public performance. Social Sciences, Labor, Economics, Agriculture, Immigration, Film, Caribbean Studies.
$250 (plus $4.95 for 2-day priority shipping)

To order "H-2 Worker" for educational use, please send a check for $254.95 toValley Filmworks, Inc. 135 Hudson St. New York, NY 10013

To ensure prompt delivery, please send confirmation of your order to

For additional questions or comments, please email or call (212) 925-6528

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