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In Mexico, maquiladoras is a word used to describe the sort of factories that have become commonplace as part of the new global economy -- assembly and manufacturing plants primarily staffed by women who make consumer goods at a reasonable wage for the area, but for long hours and often under unsafe conditions. Tijuana has attracted so many such factories that it has gained the nickname Maquilapolis, and many women who have come to the city looking for jobs discover the work is far more punishing than they ever expected. Filmmakers Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre traveled to Tijuana with video equipment and established a workshop for women working in the maquiladoras which would give them an opportunity to put their stories onscreen; three sweatshop employees-turned-activists who took part in the program collaborated with Funari and De La Torre to create Maquilapolis: City of Factories. Created to inform and empower rather than to generate pity for the factory workers, Maquilapolis documents the dirty and unsafe conditions of the plants, the toxic waste and dangerous abandoned work sites left behind by the owners, the lack of union representation and failures of management to deal with the problems of the workers, and the struggle of the women to improve their work places while earning a better living for their families. Maquilapolis: City of Factories received its North American premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.


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