Film Premier: Farmingville

Posted by on May 6, 2005

Scribe Video Center presents Farmingville ? A Riveting Portrait of Suburban America Torn by Conflict Over Immigrant Workers

?Farmingville is a primer for anyone ? whether lawmaker or citizen ? who cares to better understand the usually unseen cost of America’s appetite for cheap labor.?
– Carolyn Curiel, The New York Times editorial

Philadelphia ? Farmingville is a 77 minute investigative documentary of the searing conflict in a divided town. In some ways, it?s a familiar American story: an influx of illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico to do work the locals won?t; a flourishing ?low-wage? labor market that depends on them; rising tensions with the resident Anglo population; charges and counter-charges of lawlessness and racism; organizing and counter-organizing ? then a violent hate crime that tears a community apart.

But this isn?t the story of a California, Texas or other Southwestern town. It?s the story of Farmingville, New York, on Long Island. Scribe Video Center will present the film?s Philadelphia theatrical premiere at the International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, on May 20 at 7:00 PM at a cost of $10. Filmmakers Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini will be present to talk about their work. The screening of Farmingville is co-presented by Film @ International House and in partnership with El Comit? de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agr?colas (CATA) and the Mexican Cultural Center.

Sandoval and Tambini?s Farmingville, which won a Special Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, provides a dramatic glimpse of the new front lines in America?s struggle over immigration and national identity. In the late 1990s, some 1,500 Mexican workers moved to the leafy, suburban town of Farmingville, population 15,000. Many were illegal immigrants, and most found ready employment in Suffolk County?s thriving landscaping, construction, and restaurant industries. This didn?t prevent many of the town?s citizens from being shocked at the sudden influx of Spanish-speaking men gathering on street corners to get picked up for work and renting houses in their neighborhoods. Farmingville, after all, is about as far from a border town, or traditional employer of immigrant labor, as you can get.

Farmingville meticulously reveals the underlying forces, and the human impact, of what has become the largest influx of Mexican workers in U.S. history. The filmmakers spent nearly a year in Farmingville, talking to all sides and filming the conflict as it unfolded in legal and political maneuverings, community organizing, vigilante action and, most tragically, violence. Farmingville achieves a remarkable intimacy with many of the principal players in the town?s drama, who share their personal hopes and fears, revealing just how profoundly local all politics, even global politics, are.

For more information or high resolution images please visit contact Phil Rothberg at Scribe, or 215-222-4201, or visit our website

Scribe, a non-profit arts center in Philadelphia, seeks to explore, develop and advance the use of video as an artistic medium and as a tool for progressive social change. ?Scribe? is a metaphor for the use of video as a modern medium to record significant contemporary concerns and events.

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