2019 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 30m
Made in Bangladesh is a 2019 Bangladeshi drama film directed by Rubaiyat Hossain. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.
Initial release: September 6, 2019
Director: Rubaiyat Hossain
Language: Bengali language
Notes by Steve Cook, President, Washington Baltimore News Guild; email@example.com
Tells the story of a garment worker who decides to organize her coworkers into a union after a fire kills her best friend. The young woman, Shimu, has to overcome skepticism from her coworkers, resistance from her husband, double-crossing from a coworker, pressure from her bosses, bureaucratic inertia from the government, and a host of obstacles like we all face.
I want everyone in my shop and other open shops to see this movie. It really lays out what we all face in organizing, but the stakes are clear as day in a way that it often is difficult to communicate to our units. It would be great if it were available in DVDs, so locals could show it, or people could share it in their homes, or pass it around.
The film also highlights the universal struggles unions face anywhere in the world. The things I described above are things we face in our own organizing efforts. I also took away a message of solidarity with working people regardless of their nationality, geographic location, gender, or ethnicity. Their struggle is our struggle. These are messages that people must hear again and again. Cameron Bailey, the TIFF artistic director called Shimu, “the Norma Rae we need now.”
This movie has distribution in France starting Dec. 5 though an outfit called Pyramide International, which TIFF lists as the international sale agent. As far as I know, no one has picked it up in North America. I think it would be ideal for the DC Labor Filmfest, but also would be great if it could get exposure in North America in the meantime. If you have connections in the distribution industry, perhaps you could spread awareness of the movie among them.
The contact information for Pyramide in the TIFF book are firstname.lastname@example.org, and 0033142960220.
I also am including some links that give you a fuller idea of what Made in Bangladesh is about. I hope I’ve given enough description of how important I think this movie is. Please feel free to contact me for a fuller description or for any way that I may be able to help.
Steve Cook, President, Washington Baltimore News Guild; email@example.com
Q&A following the TIFF screening.