Strength In Union Title Q&A Title
STRENGTH IN UNION Q&A

This is an ambitious project – will it be completed?

The shooting portion of the film is already 70% completed. That includes the filming of 85 interviews with national labor leaders, distinguished historians and professors of labor studies, worker center activists, and labor related media personalities.

We have an experienced research team in place that is collecting historical photographs, documents, and archival film footage. This team includes curator Ann Meyerson, who has presented historical photography exhibitions for the Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Legal history and legislative history research is being managed by attorney and historian Kenneth Cerullo.

In early 2014 the scriptwriters will begin writing the narration script, and film editing is scheduled to begin the following fall. The commitment and determination of the filmmakers will ensure that the project is completed. This is a work of passion for the director and producers, and with the time, money and energy already invested in the project, failure to complete is not an option!

Will you be able to find a place to broadcast it?

In the current media landscape there are more venues for broadcast than ever before, and many that are hungry for exciting, economically produced but high- quality content. Even PBS is actually a network of many broadcasters, each of whom can offer content for national distribution.

The drama of these stories, and their importance to current events, will make the film very attractive to media buyers. In addition to traditional broadcast outlets, the film will also be featured on Netflix, and available for streaming on Amazon, as well as for DVD sales. Already, a company wishing to distribute an expanded educational DVD package to universities and secondary schools has contacted us. How was the outline created? Will there be historical accuracy?

The outline for the film was created based on extensive research from a wide variety of sources. In additional to literary sources, we have studied archival documentary sources, and most importantly, we ask every labor leader, historian and worker advocate that we interview what they think we may have missed or should consider for inclusion in the film. This has garnered a lot of great insight and led to multiple rewrites in order to make the film inclusive and accurate.

In addition, the film has a distinguished board of historical advisors, with representatives from top universities across the US, who will review the draft scripts and rough film edits to ensure historical accuracy.

Is there a need for the project? Has it been done before?

One of the greatest stories in American history has never been told on film. Although there are a few small documentaries about individual events in labor history, most of these were marketing devices for internal labor events; none have had the scope and gravitas of the "Strength in Union" film series.

Everywhere we go we hear, "It's about time someone did this!" Every day emails and phone calls come into the Arete Living Arts' office from labor organizations and university professors asking when they can get a copy of the film. Although the film is a year or more away from completion, many media outlets are calling to request interviews about the project.

The buzz on labor blogs reveals the excitement and enthusiasm about the film. The AFL-CIO blog generated almost 50 comments about the film. A few examples:

"This is a great film we all should forward this to all our email friends." - tunaman13212

"This is awesome! It is well overdue. The Labor movement and its stories need to become commonplace in American society. Not only do we need this kind of important work on the big screen and other media we need it taught regularly in our schools as part of the required curriculum emphasizing the humanity issues that honor people and their work" - Constance Means

"This is what labor has to do more often. Films like this wake people up. Show the people that the Presidents of the American unions are just people like them. NOT thugs." – russelmeans

"A great film that's long overdue! The message needs to get out that having union representation and collective bargaining is like having an army of specialists looking out for the well being of the worker. Who else represents the interests of the workers? Not the politicians, not the media, and not the non-unionized worker unless he is ready to hire an attorney to negotiate and litigate on his behalf. This documentary may wake some of these people up." – Skeptic

"We need this to educate our younger people of the trials and tribulations our fathers had to endure to get us out of sweat shops and little children in coal mines!! It is about time someone tries to show the history of unions and the REAL REASONS they were formed!!" - MlMcneely


Labor is concerned about current events and the future, how will a historical documentary help labor?

The final two episodes of the film will deal with current issues facing labor, and the outlook for the future of labor. Among the things the film will do is present a point- by-point rebuttal of the criticisms and arguments used by right-wing media to condemn labor unions.

Among the issues we will cover in the current events episodes are:

  • Investigating the anti-union campaigns and where their funding comes from
  • The effects of globalization on American workers
  • Worker centers and grassroots organization
  • Fast food workers and Wal-Mart organization drives
  • Rebutting the anti-union propaganda
  • o "Right to Work" laws and their effects
    o Why are labor leaders called "union thugs" and accused of being corrupt?
    o How did teachers become villains? The propaganda campaign against public service workers
    o Do unions hurt the economy and send jobs overseas? o Is the post office going bankrupt?

    The final episode will look at:

  • What the future of labor might look like
  • What is at stake for the American middle class
  • The top-down vs. middle-out economic models
  • Global union strategies

    Who is the Arete Living Arts Foundation? How will we know the money is going to the right place?

    The Arete Living Arts Foundation is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2003. The Arete Living Arts Foundation is dedicated to the production of art works that inspire personal, political, or spiritual awakening.

    Arete's financial records are reviewed annually by certified public accountant Michael J. Hadzipanajotis, CPA.
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