Synopsis by Mark Deming
While a growing number of Americans have become aware of the difficult and dangerous working conditions that face garment workers in Asia and the Third World, most believe that such things don't happen in the United States, where labor unions once dominated the clothing industry. Filmmaker Almudena Carracedo demonstrates just how little separates sweatshops in the Third World and the United States in the documentary Made in L.A.. Maria Pineda, Maura Colorado, and Guadalupe "Lupe" Hernandez are three immigrants from Mexico who work in a California factory that makes discount fashion garments; their employers frequently ignore both the letter and the spirit of protective labor regulations, subjecting their workers to 14-hour work days, paying well below minimum wage, and maintaining a workplace that is both dirty and dangerous. Pineda, Colorado, and Hernandez wanted to see that their bosses treat them and their fellow workers with the respect they deserve, and with the help of the activists at the Garment Workers Center, they volunteered to join a campaign to bring legal action against the owners of American sweatshops, as well as encourage protests and boycotts against retailers who carry merchandise manufactured by offending companies. The campaign to bring safety and security back to the American clothing business leads these three women on a journey of self-respect and self-discovery that takes them to New York City for the first time. Made in L.A. received its world premiere at the 2007 Silverdocs Film Festival, a festival for documentary cinema sponsored in part by the American Film Institute.