Category Archives: Construction Trades

Bread, Concrete, and Roses

Director: Yonetmen

The film is about the dangerous life of construction workers in a foreign land far from their homeland, and their social problems.
–Written by Steven Zeltzer


The Overnighters

Directed by Jesse Moss
Runtime: 1 hr, 30m

In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota, tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck under the lure of the oil boom. However, busloads of newcomers chasing a broken American Dream step into the stark reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep. The town lacks the infrastructure to house the overflow of migrants, even for those who do find gainful employment.

Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is driven to deliver the migrants some dignity. Night after night, he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening the church’s doors to allow the “Overnighters” (as he calls them) to stay for a night, a week or longer. They sleep on the floor, in the pews and in their cars in the church parking lot. Many who take shelter with Reinke are living on society’s fringes and with checkered pasts, and their presence starts affecting the dynamics of the small community. The congregants begin slinging criticism and the City Council threatens to shut the controversial Overnighters program down, forcing the pastor to make a decision which leads to profound consequences that he never imagined.

A modern-day Grapes of Wrath, award-winning documentary The Overnighters engages and dramatizes a set of universal societal and economic themes: the promise and limits of re-invention, redemption and compassion, as well as the tension between the moral imperative to “love thy neighbor” and the resistance that one small community feels when confronted by a surging river of desperate, job-seeking strangers.


Ivan and Arnold: Day Laborers from Both Sides of the Border (2013)

Directed by: Melinda Levin and Michael McPherson
Documentary Short (28 minutes)

This documentary short follows the lives of Ivan, an undocumented worker from Mexico and Arnold, a transitory laborer from New Orleans as they work on the day-laborer circuit during a time of economic recession in the U.S. Their stories highlight the struggles and internal racial tensions in this workforce disengaged from formal labor structures.


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Men at Lunch (2012)

80m; Ireland

Director: Seán Ó Cualáin

Synopsis: New York City, 1932. The country is in the throes of the Great Depression, the previous decade’s boom of Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants has led to unprecedented urban expansion, and in the midst of an unseasonably warm autumn, steelworkers risk life and limb building skyscrapers high above the streets of Manhattan. In Men at Lunch, director Seán Ó Cualáin tells the story of Lunch atop a Skyscraper, the iconic photograph taken during the construction of the GE Building that depicts eleven workmen taking their lunch break while casually perched along a steel girder, 850 feet above the ground. For decades, this image has captivated imaginations the world over. But who are these men? And where did they come from?

Distributor contact: John Bione
“Men on a Skyscraper” portable sculpture: Sergio Furnari: or call 917-687-5593;



Hombre Maquila (2011) (Machine Man)

Director: Alfonso Moral & Roser Corella
Spain, 2011, 14min
Format: HDCam (screening) – DigiBeta, BetaSP (shooting)
Festival Year: 2012
Category: Documentary
Crew: Editor, Cinematographer: Alfonso Moral

A reflection on modernity and global development, documenting the use of human physical force to perform work in the 21st century. The film takes place in the capital of Bangladesh, where the ‘machine men’ execute different physical works, a mass of millions of people who become the driving force behind the city.

Alfonso Moral and Roser Corella have collaborated on a number of documentaries, shooting in Lebanon, Mozambique, Bangladesh, Kenya and Senegal. They combine this joint work with individual work, making photo and video reports for different media, television and press, including Catalan TV, La Vanguardia or Le Monde. “Machine Man” is their first auteur documentary.


Builders and The Games (2012)

57m; U.K.

Director: Margaret Dickinson

Synopsis: “Builders and The Games is a 57 minute feature documentary  about construction workers and the building of the 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford, London. Shot between 2007 and 2012,  it looks at how far the Olympic Site set an example to the construction industry and compares outcomes with early promises  about safety, training, jobs and recruitment.”




The Citadel: Birth of the LeVeque Tower (2011)

Director: Seth Moherman

Synopsis: Documentary about the building of the LeVeque Tower in Columbus, OH.


The Concrete Revolution (2004)

62m; China

Director: Xiaolu Guo

Synopsis: A look at life in a rapidly developing new China. Workers recruited from villages into Beijing’s construction industry tell their stories of a culture in flux. Their displacement from loved ones, financial desperation, and hopes are set against the backdrop of the city they are daily transforming in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. Prolific young novelist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo illustrates with reference to her own migration from a provincial fishing village, music, and stories of her own.


The GAMA Strike – We Are Workers Not Slaves (2006)

60m; Ireland

Director: Socialist Party of Ireland

Synopsis (Indybay): “The GAMA Strike – We Are Workers Not Slaves” by the Socialist Party of Ireland describes how Turkish workers took on their employer, Turkish-owned multinational construction giant GAMA. Assisted by the Socialist Party (Ireland), whose members first exposed the scandalous wages and conditions being paid by GAMA to its Turkish workers, they engaged in a bitter and hard fought battle, which eventually brought GAMA to heel.

Contact: Full documentary available to view here:


The Stone Carvers (1984)

30m; U.S.

Director: Marjorie Hunt, Paul Wagner

Cast: Vincent Palumbo and Roger Morigi

Synopsis (IMDB): A look at some of the last stone carvers working in the United States, those completing the sculptures adorning the Washington National Cathedral. They discuss their craft and the cultural forces which helped define it, as well as the fading use of stone ornamentation in architecture and the history of stone carving, and they tour the cathedral to point out the history behind some of the work.