Building the American Dream (2019)

In Texas, construction workers face the deadliest conditions in the country. Building the American Dream follows three immigrant families who are rising up to seek justice and equality in an industry rife with exploitation.

Director:

Chelsea Hernandez

Writer:

Joanna Rabiger (contributing writer)
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Across Texas an unstoppable construction boom drives urban sprawl and luxury high-rises. Its dirty secret: abuse of immigrant labor. BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM captures a turning point as a movement forms to fight widespread construction industry injustices. Grieving their son, a Mexican family campaigns for a life-and-death safety ordinance. A Salvadorian electrician couple owed thousands in back pay fights for their children's future. A bereaved son battles to protect others from his family's preventable tragedy. A story of courage, resilience and community, the film reveals shocking truths about the hardworking immigrants who build the American Dream, of which they are excluded.

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Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 2019 (USA) See more »

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Production Co:

Panda Bear Films See more »
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Color
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User Reviews

 
A Heart-wrenching film on Mistreatment of Undocumented Construction Workers in Texas
11 March 2019 | by JustCuriositySee all my reviews

Building the American Dream was embraced by the audience at its World Premiere at Austin's SXSW Film Festival. This is a beautiful film that shows how the cruel and the unscrupulous are willing to exploit undocumented workers. It shows the ugly tactic of wage theft in which companies refuse to pay workers and the cruel conditions that some workers face in unsafe workplaces in Texas. The film shares the heart-wrenching personal stories of some of the victims; it also shows the heroic work of the Workers Defense Project which provides legal and political support for the workers. It shows their victorious campaign to win support for a Dallas ordinance that forced construction companies to provide workers with 10-minute break every 4 hours. The film presents the irony that many times these desperately poor workers are building the luxury high-rises for the wealthiest of Texans. It positions the events within the larger political climate in Texas where politicians often oppose common-sense safety regulations as part of the "Texas Miracle" of economic development. But Building the American Dream asks us to consider what is the cost of that American Dream which for many workers is really a nightmare. The documentary is an excellent educational tool which can be used to teach both adults and students about the horrifying dangers faced by undocumented workers in Texas.


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