Harvest Season

A catastrophic wildfire comes to wine country, where migrant laborers are hit the hardest — and are essential for the area to rebuild.

Harvestseason fp
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 13, 2019
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2019 Imagen Awards-Best Documentary
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2020 James Beard Foundation-Broadcast Media Award - Documentary
  • Bernardoruiz

    Bernardo Ruiz

    Bernardo Ruiz is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His directorial feature debut, Reportero (POV, PBS 2013) about attacks on the press in Mexico, was nominated for a 2014 News and Documentary Emmy® Award and premiered at Full Frame (U.S.), IDFA (Europe) and Ambulante (Mexico). New York Magazine called it “a powerful reminder of how journalism Show more often requires immense amounts of physical and psychological bravery.” His latest feature documentary, Kingdom of Shadows was called “unforgettable” by The New York Times and premiered at SXSW and IDFA. Ruiz founded Quiet Pictures, a New York-based production company, in 2007 in order to produce independent documentaries. Through Quiet, he created and Executive-Produced the two part bilingual PBS series, The Graduates/Los Graduados for Independent Lens. The series, about the lives of six Latino and Latina students, was funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and co-produced with ITVS. In the fall of 2015, Ruiz was a “filmmaker in residence” at the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Full Frame Film Documentary Festival and the International Documentary Association's Enterprise Fund. Show less

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    The Film

    Boutique hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, and elegant tasting rooms overlooking vineyards — that’s the way we see California’s Napa Valley. Missing from this tourism bureau Instagram feed are the people just off-camera whose unseen labors keep wine country in business.

    Filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz set out to paint a more nuanced picture, turning his camera in 2017 on Napa’s new generation of Latino winemakers, as well as the often low-wage, largely Latino workforce of grafters, pruners, pickers, and cellar workers. Then, devastating wildfires tore through the region, killing 42 people and leveling hundreds of buildings in Napa and the surrounding counties. The firestorms laid bare not just neighborhoods and hillsides and fields but also, as natural disasters do, the stark economic disparities dividing communities. Harvest Season bears witness to the wildfires and the repercussions for an unheralded, largely immigrant workforce.