Films by four UC Santa Cruz students featured during Reel Work Film Festival

Community studies major Pedro Espinosa is featured in a film he helped make.

Films about the immigrant experience and last fall's writers' strike are among the works by four UC Santa Cruz students that will be screened during the seventh annual Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival, which takes place April 25-May 11.

The student films will be shown on Wednesday, April 30, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Kresge Town Hall at UCSC. Admission to all screenings is by voluntary donation.

. Pedro Joel Espinosa, an undergraduate majoring in community studies, facilitated the making of an "observational documentary" entitled SIN Verguenza (Shameless Voices), about the experiences of UCSC students from migrant backgrounds. The students featured in the film, which is a work-in-progress, include Espinosa; all are members of an organization called Students Informing Now, a support group that does educational outreach to middle-school, high-school, and college students regarding issues faced by students from immigrant, working class backgrounds.

. Laura Fishman, who is also majoring in community studies, made a film about the strike by members of the Writers Guild of America. Fishman was living in Burbank during the strike last fall and saw firsthand how people can come together to make social change and influence major corporations.

. Elissa Moon is a graduate student in UCSC's Social Documentation program. Her film, Bad About Being Korean, profiles the experiences of Moon and her family of working-class Korean immigrants.

. Claire Harbage, a history major, made a film entitled Together We're Stronger, which profiles the lives of three UCSC campus service workers who are AFSCME union members.

Another film screening that night, Overcoming Adversity, tells the story of Neidi Dominguez, a community studies major graduating this June who, like many immigrant students, overcame numerous obstacles to attain a college education. In addition, the evening will feature a slide show by UCSC student photographer Bradley Stuart of a February 2007 student/worker solidarity march, and live performances by Kinetic Poets, UCSC's slam poetry team, and the UCSC Rainbow Theater.

In its seventh year, the Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival is coorganized by Paul Ortiz, associate professor of community studies at UCSC. An annual celebration of International Workers' Day, the festival presents films, music, dramatic performances, slam poetry, and conversations with documentary film makers, immigrant activists, and union organizers about the past, present, and future of the labor movement.

"This year we're encouraging Central Coast residents to support the immigrant rights movement, which is bringing workers together in the struggle for dignity and justice," said Ortiz.

Highlights of this year's festival include The Power of Song, a film about the legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, which will screen at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, at the Del Mar Theater in downtown Santa Cruz. Film maker Jim Brown will be on hand to discuss the making of the film.

The documentary Made in L.A. will screen at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, at the Calvary Episcopal Church at 532 Center Street in downtown Santa Cruz. Film maker Almudena Carracedo will attend the screening and be available for discussion.

The film 911: Dust and Deceit, which exposes the environmental disaster of 9/11 in New York City, will screen at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 28, at Community Television of Santa Cruz County in downtown Santa Cruz. After the screening, film maker Penny Little will lead a discussion about the film.

Full schedule information about the Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival is available online. For more information, call (831) 469-3306.