Reel Work Labor Film Festival stopping in Watsonville

In a scene from the film "Councilwoman", Carmen Castillo is a Dominican woman who maintains her job cleaning hotel rooms as she takes on her new role in politics as a City Councilwoman in Providence, RI. (Photo courtesy Reel Work 2019)

WATSONVILLE — The 18th annual Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival begins on Sunday and will run through May 4. The event takes place at various venues in California’s central coast.

Reel Work presents cultural events, bringing together award-winning documentary film producers, workers, activists, students, and the public with the goal of increasing community awareness of the central role of work, to discuss economic and global justice issues, and to bring alive the history and culture of the labor movement in the U.S. and abroad.

Cinematic representations of labor each year include local and international works and world premieres, as well as classics. Events are commonly followed by speakers and question and answer sessions.

“We inspire festival participants to join in the struggle for worker rights locally, nationally and globally to achieve social justice and international solidarity,” organizers said. “And in the process, we support filmmakers to produce the kind of film we want to screen.”

Of the 27 events, two screenings will take place in Watsonville. The others will be sprinkled around Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

The two Watsonville events are:

• “Councilwoman” (Margo Guernsey, 2018, 57 min, USA). Carmen Castillo is a Dominican woman who maintains her job cleaning hotel rooms as she takes on her new role in politics as a city councilwoman in Providence, R.I. She faces skeptics who say she doesn’t have the education to govern. It’s a journey behind the scenes of a worker taking on the political system.

The film will run April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Watsonville Civic Plaza Community Room, 4th Floor, 275 Main St.

• “ADIOS AMOR: The Search for María Moreno ” (Laurie Coyle, 2017, 58 min, USA). The discovery of lost photographs sparked the search for a hero that history forgot — María Moreno, a migrant mother driven to speak out by her twelve children’s hunger. She was the first farm worker woman in the U.S. to be hired as a union organizer years before César Chávez and Dolores Huerta launched the United Farm Workers. Moreno picked up the only weapon she had — her voice — and became an outspoken leader in an era when women were relegated to the background.

The film will run April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Cabrillo College Watsonville Forum, 318 Union St.

Ten speakers will augment the program in question and answer periods that typically follow the films.

Each event is free with voluntary donations accepted at the door. For a full schedule and information, visit reelwork.org.

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