2019 CLiFF Film Synopses

24-Hour Workday

14.5 min documentary from the United States and Director Zishun Ning

Exposes the conditions of long hours and wage theft that working people are currently facing in the State of New York as home attendants. These workers are mostly immigrants and women and are forced to work grueling 24-hour shifts taking care of seriously-ill patients, with only half of the pay. When they try to fight back through legislative means, they meet obstacles from the State government which tries to legalize such inhumane practice. These workers come together to demand back pay and change of 24-hour shifts to split shifts, and unite with patients to mount a challenge against this state-sponsored sweatshop.

A Model Employee

16 min drama from Canada and Director Leila Khalilzadeh

To keep her day job at a local restaurant, an aspiring DJ has to wear a tracking wristband. As it tracks her life outside of work, she tries to fool the system, but a new device upgrade means trouble.

A Radiant Sphere

9.5 min documentary from Canada and Director Sara Wylie
The filmmaker discovers a long lost family member, the Canadian Communist poet and political prisoner, Joe Wallace. Her research journey reveals his fascinating life and work, and some surprising things they share in common.


9.5 min drama from Iran and Director Mirabbas Khosravinezhad

Azadeh, a young girl living in a small village with her family, wants go to city to visit her father, but her mother and brother won’t allow it…


60 min documentary from the United States and Director Margo Guernsey

A hotel housekeeper from the Dominican Republic, Carmen Castillo, has won a City Council seat in Providence, RI, taking her advocacy for low-income workers from the margins to the center. She faces skeptics who say she doesn’t have the education to govern, the power of corporate interests who take a stand against her fight for a $15/hourly wage in the City, and a tough re-election against two contenders—all of this while balancing the challenges of managing a full-time job cleaning hotel rooms, and a personal relationship. It’s a journey behind the scenes of politics after the victory.

Do not ask for your way

15 min drama from France and Director Deborah Hassoun
After 6 years of therapy, Inès, 31 years old, wishes to leave her therapist. When confronted with the magnitude of the task, she decides to get help… from another therapist.

Don’t Give Up Your Voice

40 min documentary from the United States and Directors Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young

Argentina elected president Macri a year before we elected Trump in the U.S. The two are remarkably similar in terms of their backgrounds, how they campaigned and the policies they are promoting once in office. DON’T GIVE UP YOUR VOICE looks at the widespread and creative resistance to Macri’s policies, in organized labor, at worker coops, street protests, theater and music, offering inspiration for us in the North.
Fishnet and the Fish
We are sorry but this film has been removed from our list.

Rethabile’s Story

25 min documentary from Director Darren Hutchinshon

In the garment factories of Maseru, Lesotho, the workers make clothes to be sold in the United States. What is day-to-day life like in these factories? Let ex-factory worker Rethabile take you to the places she used to work, meet her friends, and describe her role in the Decent Work Regulation project. The aim is to achieve decent work – and Sustainable Development Goal 8 – by making labour rights more effective.

The Glasgow Women Strike

11 min documentary from Switzerland and Directors Leo David Hyde and Nathalie Berger

After decades of earning less than their male counterparts, Glasgow’s female cooks, cleaners and caregivers launch the biggest Equal Pay Strike in UK History.

The Stain

11 min drama from Iran and Director Shoresh Vakili

The caretaker of a cinema salon notices a strange stain on the screen after a movie release…

Town of Widows

60 min documentary from Canada and Directors Natasha Luckhardt and Rob Viscardis

In a factory town both sustained and poisoned by big industry, a growing group of widows, workers and family members fight for justice in a system stacked against injured workers. Jim is sick of going to funerals. Roger has regular surgeries to keep him alive. Sandy still struggles to pay the bills twenty years after her husband died. Their town is sick, and they want justice. The General Electric factory in Peterborough gave them good work and took them in like family, but ultimately may be responsible for a lethal legacy of cancer. They talk about the “snowstorms” of asbestos in the plant, the “GE smell” from the toxic soup of chemicals and the workers “dropping like flies” from cancer. Their opponents are formidable ones. The compensation board is meant to support workers and their families, but it has denied hundreds of workers and widows and left others waiting for decades. General Electric is one of the largest companies in the world and no one, including the government, wants to run them out of town and see workers lose their jobs. We watch as a town of widows and workers take on their own community, the government, an insurance agency, a multinational company – and see wins.

Women at the Bargaining Table: White Collar Unionization at Carleton University” at the request of the filmmaker.

22 min documentary from Canada and Directors Martha Attridge Bufton and David Dean
In the mid-1970s, women across Canada were fighting to improve their lives at home and at work and white collar unionism was on the rise. At Carleton University, successful movements to unionize faculty, academic librarians, and support staff were led by women. Amid suspicion and dissent, these three groups of workers collaborated and influenced each other to overturn entrenched collegial employee/management relations and secure “the rule of law and more equitable working conditions. By 1976, the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA) and the Carleton University Support Staff Association (CUSSA) were both certified for collective bargaining. This made the university amongst the first in the country to have white collar unions for both academic and support staff. Women at the bargaining table tells the story of the certification process at Carleton, featuring five of the women who led the unionization campaigns.


9 min drama from Spain and Director David Macian Montesinos

Once upon a time, there was a town where nobody drank Coca-cola…