May Day Labor Film Festival


SAMI ABED, a local Palestinian-American business owner, student, and paramedic, is a co-founder and co-organizer of the Palestine-Israel Action Committee. Abed, whose father is a Palestinian refugee, has been back to Palestine/Israel on three separate occasions and is working locally to change U.S. policy in the Middle East.

KAREN BRANDOW, singer and musician, has been performing with Charlie King since 1998. While doing human rights work in Guatemala, Karen studied voice, performance and classical guitar. She performs songs in English and Spanish. In addition to her membership in AFM Local 1000, Karen is a member of the Translators and Interpreters Guild, CWA Local 32100, through her work as a Spanish interpreter and translator for progressive groups. In 1996 she published the book The Sky Never Changes about the Guatemalan Labor Movement.

JOHN DE GRAAF has been producing PBS documentaries for 33 years, with a focus on social and environmental issues. He is also an author, teacher and activist. His documentary, Affluenza, on the epidemic of over-consumption was seen by 10 million Americans. His film Running Out Of Time was screened at Reel Work 2002. His Motherhood Manifesto and Buyer Be Fair played at Reel Work 2007.

DANA FRANK is Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Labor Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Her books include Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America, Local Girl Makes History, and, with Howard Zinn and Robin D.G. Kelley, Three Strikes. She is a member of AFT Local 2199 and the Santa Cruz Faculty Association, and has long been active in labor solidarity work in the U.S. and Central America. She is currently working in solidarity with the Resistance to the coup in Honduras. Frank has presented at several Reel Work events over the years.

CLEVE JONES began his career as an activist in San Francisco during the turbulent 1970s when he was befriended by pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk. He worked as a student intern in Milk’s office. An AIDS and LGBT rights activist, Jones conceived of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and in 1983 co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Currently Jones works with UNITE HERE, the hotel, restaurant, and garment workers union, to make the labor movement more open to LGBT members. He is a driving force behind the Sleep With The Right People campaign, which aims to convince LGBT tourists to stay only in hotels that respect the rights of their workers. Jones is portrayed by actor Emile Hirsch in Milk.

CHARLIE KING is a singer, song writer, musical storyteller, and political satirist with musical influences from the folk music revival of the 1960’s, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war era. He is a founding member of American Federation of Musicians Local 1000, the North American Traveling Musicians’ Union and has been singing for labor at conferences, rallies and picket lines since 1970. The War Resisters League gave their Peacemaker Award to Charlie and Odetta in 1988. Pete Seeger nominated Charlie for the Sacco-Vanzetti Social Justice Award, which he received in 1999.

RICK LONGINOTTI came of age working for the United Farmworkers Union in San Francisco and Delano. He is a co-founder of Nonviolent Communication Santa Cruz and Transition Santa Cruz, part of the Transition Towns movement in response to climate change and peak oil.

ROGELIO MARTÍNEZ-SALDANA is a Migrant Education teacher with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and a member of PVFT 1936. Rogelio has closely followed politics in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. He recently returned from Mexico City where he witnessed and participated in some of the actions of resistance carried out by members of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) after their union was eliminated by the Mexican Government.

JON SILVER is an educational and documentary video producer based in Watsonville. His video work focuses on effective bilingual education and early literacy in the public schools and he has produced several programs dealing with immigrant workers and social justice issues. Jon also teaches documentary at UC Santa Cruz and his videos are used by educators and community activists across the country. He presented Watsonville on Strike in Reel Work’s inaugural 2002 season and was invited back for this season.

LISA SMITHLINE is an innovative leader in the cause marketing field. As a producer and marketing strategist Lisa creates dynamic multi-platform distribution campaigns using film and new media. Lisa's current career integrates a commitment to social change with an extensive background in film, television and commercial production. As founding partner of Brave New Films and director of alternative marketing at Focus Features, Lisa pioneered new models of community-based distribution. She has produced successful marketing campaigns for many popular films including Academy Award nominated Trouble The Water, Stacy Peralta's Crips & Bloods, Dirt! The Movie and The People Speak. Lisa and her partner, Tracy Fleischman have recently formed Cultural Front Productions, a unique marketing firm that uses the power of entertainment to transform lives.

KYLE THIERMANN is a 20 year old surfer from Santa Cruz whose recent trip to Chile led him to make a documentary on surfers inadvertently funding the proposed construction of a $1.3 billion coal power plant in the epic surf town of Constitución. Kyle organizes surfers to become more aware of the power they have to affect change in their communities and beyond. He is earning his degree in Green Business while traveling around the world for his sponsor.

MICHAEL WILSON obtained the first data on worker exposure to volatile organic compounds in the vehicle repair industry, which shed light on reported cases of worker illness. His work also illuminated larger policy challenges facing California and the U.S. regarding the design, use, and regulation of chemicals in processes and products. Michael was chief author of the University of California report, Green Chemistry in California: A Framework for Leadership in Chemicals Policy and Innovation and is the acting director of the UC Berkeley environmental program on Green Chemistry.

DAVID WINTERS is a professional musician, officer in the American Federation of Musicians, Local 153, and long-time coordinator of the Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival. He has performed at Reel Work events since its inception.

PAT ZAVELLA received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently she is Professor and Chair of the Latin American and Latino Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has published extensively in Chicano-Latino studies and feminist studies on poverty, family, sexuality, health, work and transnational migration of Mexicana/o workers. Her most recent publication is Women and Migration in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: A Reader, co-edited with Denise Segura. In 2003, the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies named her Scholar of the Year. She has been active in the Task Force organizing Binational Health Week in Santa Cruz County since 2006.


Page last updated 3/29/10

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