Harvest Season

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

woman walking through vineyard in Napa
Series
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 13, 2019
Length
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
  • filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz
    Director

    Bernardo Ruiz

    Bernardo Ruiz is a two-time Emmy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker. He has directed and produced four feature documentaries, including The Infinite Race (ESPN’s 30 for 30), Harvest Season (Independent Lens), Kingdom of Shadows (Participant Media) and Reportero (POV), as well as a host of nonfiction programming. 

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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.

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