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The Hand That Feeds


Shy sandwich-maker Mahoma Lopez unites his undocumented immigrant coworkers to fight abusive conditions at a popular New York restaurant chain. The epic power struggle that ensues turns a single city block into a battlefield in America’s new wage wars.

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The Hand That Feeds


Shy sandwich-maker Mahoma Lopez unites his undocumented immigrant coworkers to fight abusive conditions at a popular New York restaurant chain. The epic power struggle that ensues turns a single city block into a battlefield in America’s new wage wars.

photo: Jed Brandt

Credits

Directed and Edited by: Robin Blotnick
Written, directed and produced by: Rachel Lears & Robin Blotnick
Executive producer: Alex Rivera
Co-producer: Patricia Benabe
Director of photography: Rachel Lears
Editors: Robin Blotnick & David Meneses
Original score composed by: Ryan Blotnick

Film Details

Release date: April 2014
Theatrical version runtime: 84 minutes
Broadcast version runtime: 56 minutes
In Spanish and English with Subtitles available in both languages
Rousing
Hollywood Reporter
Effective
The New York Times
A crowd pleaser
Indiewire
Socially conscious documentary filmmaking at its best.
The Boston Globe
You will never look at your deli server the same way again
Center for Media and Social Impact
Filmed with the urgency and suspense of a Hitchcock thriller
The Village Voice

At a popular bakery café, residents of New York’s Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. But behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick. Mild-mannered sandwich maker Mahoma López has never been interested in politics, but in January 2012, he convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back.

Risking deportation and the loss of their livelihood, the workers team up with a diverse crew of innovative young organizers and take the unusual step of forming their own independent union, launching themselves on a journey that will test the limits of their resolve. In one roller-coaster year, they must overcome a shocking betrayal and a two-month lockout. Lawyers will battle in back rooms, Occupy Wall Street protesters will take over the restaurant, and a picket line will divide the neighborhood. If they can win a contract, it will set a historic precedent for low-wage workers across the country. But whatever happens, Mahoma and his coworkers will never be exploited again.

ACCOLADES

  • Emmy Nominee, 2017, Outstanding Business and Economy Documentary
  • Audience Award for Best Feature, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham, NC (April 2014)
  • Audience Award, DOC NYC, New York, NY (November 2014)
  • Selection “Best of Fest”, AFI DOCS, Silver Spring, MD & Washington, DC (June 2014)
  • Jury Prize, Best Documentary Feature, Sidewalk Film Festival, Birmingham, AL (August 2014)
  • International Jury Prize, Document Human Rights Film Festival, Glasgow, Scotland (October 2014)
  • Audience Award, aluCine Latin Film+Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada (April 2015)
  • Audience Award for Best Documentary, Chicago Latino Film Festival, Chicago, IL (April 2015)
 


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Get the Film


Purchase The Hand That Feeds educational DVD, host your own screening, or bring the film to a campus or theater near you.

Get the Film


Purchase The Hand That Feeds educational DVD, host your own screening, or bring the film to a campus or theater near you.

photo: Jed Brandt

 

Home use DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OR RENTAL

USA Only: Download or stream the film in HD with multiple subtitle options. Not for use in public screenings.

from $4.99


Educational DVD from Bullfrog Films

This DVD comes with a public performance license intended for universities, libraries and other institutions and is available through our educational distributor Bullfrog Films. Includes 84 and 56 minute versions of the film with choice of subtitles. 

$295

 


Institution/ UNION DVD

Note: Unless you are a union or a union-affiliate, this DVD is only available outside the US & Canada. All US and Canadian non-union organizations should choose Educational DVD above.

This DVD comes with a public performance license that allows organizations to hold as many non-theatrical public screenings of the film as they would like. Includes 84 and 56 minute versions of the film with choice of subtitles. Also available as a digital download.

$295

Note: you do not need a Paypal account; select "Pay with Debit or Credit Card" below the login screen.

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Home USE DVD

USA only: Includes 84 and 56 minute versions of the film with choice of subtitles. Not for use in public screenings.

$20

Note: you do not need a Paypal account; select "Pay with Debit or Credit Card" below the login screen.

WE're on tour!

The filmmakers Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick would love to connect with your community in person and are available to speak at your campus or after your screening event. Rachel has a PhD in cultural anthropology, and we're both very comfortable making classroom visits, teaching master classes, speaking on panels or simply answering audience questions. Write us to tell us what you have in mind and discuss rates and availability. We also do Q&A's remotely, via Skype.

 

Host a community / grassroots screening

Intended for churches, workers centers and other small groups, this option includes public performance license for one non-theatrical screening, DVD rental, artwork and flyer templates, and help getting the word out on social media.  If you want to work with a university or union, please choose the Public Screening option below.  If you'd like to hold the event in a movie theater and/or sell tickets, please contact our booker.

$95

Note: you do not need a Paypal account; select "Pay with Debit or Credit Card" below the login screen.

Host a Public Screening

Intended for universities, unions and other larger institutions, this option includes public performance license for one non-theatrical screening, DVD or BluRay rental, artwork and flyer templates, and help getting the word out on social media.  If you'd like to hold the event in a movie theater and/or sell tickets, please contact us.

$200

 

Note: you do not need a Paypal account; select "Pay with Debit or Credit Card" below the login screen.

WHY DO WE ASK FOR SCREENING FEES?

Screening fees help us cover the labor and costs of self-distribution and to continue making independent social justice documentaries. That said, if your group wants to screen the film for low-wage workers and these packages are outside your budget, get in touch with our educational distributor Bullfrog Films and explain your circumstances, and they should be able to work something out.