2014 DC Labor FilmFest
May 5-June 23

Organized and presented by the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, the Debs-Jones- Douglass Institute and the American Film Institute, this year the DC Labor FilmFest transitions to its new home as a weekly, springtime event. The 2014 schedule features encore presentations of popular films from past editions of the festival, a wide-ranging selection of films about work, workers and workers’ issues. For more information, visit dclaborfilmfest.org.

AFI Member passes will be accepted at all screenings.

Union members who present their member cards will receive the AFI Member discount.

60th Anniversary!

Originally banned by the U.S. government and now recognized by the Smithsonian as among “the greatest 100 films ever made,” this film tells the story of Mexican-American workers who strike to attain wage parity with Anglo workers and the pivotal role their wives play in the strike. “A landmark in political filmmaking effortlessly tying together working class, feminist, environmental and Latino concerns into a brilliant call for radical social change.” –IMDb.

DIR Herbert J. Biberman; SCR Michael Wilson; PROD Paul Jarrico. US, 1954, b&w, 94 min, 35mm. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Mon, May 5, 7:30


Can craftsmanship survive in an age of mass-production and consumption? The most thoroughly handcrafted instruments in the world, Steinway pianos are as unique and full of personality as the world-class musicians who play them. However, their makers—members of Local 81-102 of the International Union of Electronic Workers-Communications Workers of America—are a dying breed: skilled cabinet-makers, gifted tuners, thorough hand-crafters. This documentary follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand from forest floor to concert hall. Featuring interviews with and performances by world-class artists including Chinese phenom Lang Lang, Helene Grimaud, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and jazz greats Hank Jones, Marcus Roberts, Kenny Barron, Harry Connick, Jr., and Bill Charlap.

DIR/PROD Ben Niles. US, 2007, color, 81 min, Digibeta. NOT RATED

Presented in cooperation with the Alliance for American Manufacturing and American Federation of Musicians Local 161-710


Mon, May 12, 7:30


Set amidst London’s largely invisible community of illegal immigrants, Stephen Frears’ film is a contemporary and highly original multicultural urban thriller with a gritty, political edge. Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a medically trained Nigerian forced to juggle two low-paying menial jobs in order to survive. A night-time porter in a less-than-salubrious hotel, Okwe’s few moments of rest are snatched on the couch of Senay (Audrey Tautou, AMELIE), a Turkish asylum seeker who works in the same establishment. After making a gruesome discovery in one of the rooms, Okwe and Senay’s already perilous, uncomfortable lives take a macabre turn for the worse. A beautifully performed, revealing and impassioned work that treats its characters with empathy and respect, this film confirmed Frears as one of the most prescient and talented British directors of his generation.

DIR Stephen Frears; SCR Steven Knight; PROD Robert Jones, Tracey Seaward. UK, 2002, color, 97 min, 35mm. RATED R


Mon, May 19, 7:30

Tickets $5!

Sometimes inspiration can be found in unexpected places. Choreographer Allison Orr finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks, and in the men and women who pick up our trash. Filmmaker Andrew Garrison follows Orr as she joins city sanitation workers on their daily routes to listen, learn and ultimately to convince them to collaborate in a unique dance performance. Hard working, often carrying a second job, their lives are already full with work, family and dreams of their own. But some step forward, and after months of rehearsal, two dozen trash collectors and their trucks perform an extraordinary spectacle. The culminating live performance of workers and their vehicles, presented on an airport runway before thousands of spectators, is not to be missed. Feature Audience Award, 2012 AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival.

DIR/PROD Andrew Garrison. US, 2012, color, 68 min, DCP. NOT RATED


Tue, May 27, 7:30


The inspiration for the 2013 Tony-winning musical, this film is based on the true story of a traditional Northampton shoemaker who turns to producing fetish footwear in order to save the failing family business and the jobs of his workers. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor—a 2014 Best Actor Oscar nominee for 12 YEARS A SLAVE—won plaudits for his portrayal of Lola, a female impersonator who consults with the company on boot design and models its products, all the while contending with homophobic factory workers, including Don, the reigning arm-wrestling champion in a local pub, who discovers respect in the inevitable elbow-to-elbow showdown with Lola.

DIR Julian Jarrold; SCR Geoff Deane, Tim Firth; PROD Nick Barton, Peter Ettedgui, Suzanne Mackie. US/UK, 2005, color, 107 min, 35mm. RATED PG-13

Presented in cooperation with SAG-AFTRA


Mon, Jun 2, 7:30


“I could burn this place down.” The perennial DC Labor FilmFest favorite returns! The outrageously funny OFFICE SPACE will once again feature a raffle of OFFICE SPACE paraphernalia, including Milton’s precious red Swingline stapler. Director Mike Judge’s theatrical debut was largely ignored upon release, but has become a veritable ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW for cube-farmers everywhere; starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, John C. McGinley, Stephen Root and Gary Cole.

DIR/SCR/PROD Mike Judge; PROD Daniel Rappaport, Guy Riedel. US, 1999, color, 89 min, 35mm. RATED R

Presented in cooperation with Union Plus and the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE)


Mon, Jun 9, 7:30


This inventive musical fantasy from 2000 started off small, but critical and commercial enthusiasm made it a sleeper hit, eventually earning three Oscar nominations and adaptation into the long-running Broadway and West End stage musical. Eleven-year-old lad Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell, superb) blows off his boxing lessons to join the more fascinating ballet class down the hall, taught by charismatic Mrs. Wilkinson (Oscar-nominated Julie Walters). But when his hard-headed father and older brother find out about his new extracurricular activity, tensions rise in the already tense household. Set against the backdrop of England’s lengthy, bitter mining strike in 1984, the film magically blends class-conscious history, conscience-raising drama, and rousing music and dance numbers to celebrate the transformative power of following your dreams.

DIR Stephen Daldry; SCR Lee Hall; PROD Greg Brenman, Jonathan Finn. UK/France, 2000, color, 110 min, 35mm. RATED PG-13

Presented in cooperation with SAG-AFTRA


Mon, Jun 16, 7:30


Through the eyes of Detroit firefighters charged with the thankless task of saving a city that many have written off as dead, BURN tells the gripping story of a city struggling for survival. The film follows the crew of Engine Company 50—one of the busiest firehouses in America—who believe in their city and are attempting to make a difference every day. A story of human struggles, hope and personal courage in the face of overwhelming odds, this documentary puts the spotlight on those who have the vision and the heart to bring a forgotten American dream back to Detroit. Audience Award, 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.

DIR/PROD Tom Putnam, Brenna Sanchez. US, 2012, color, 86 min, DCP. NOT RATED

Presented in cooperation with DC Fire Fighters Association Local 36, International Association of Fire Fighters


Mon, Jun 23, 7:30