Feeling trapped in their hometown, five friends join the National Guard and begin their journey from teenagers to soldiers to veterans.
Juan and Ramon, immigrant day laborers, explore the contradictions that haunt America's dependence on and discrimination against immigrant labor.
Heather Courtney is a filmmaker, cinematographer, and photographer based in Austin, Texas. Her recently completed Letters from the Other Side, which uses cross-border video letters to tell the immigration story from the perspective of the women left behind in Mexico, premiered at the Slamdance… Film Festival in January, screened at the South by Southwest International Film Festival (SXSW).
Her previous film, Los Trabajadores/The Workers, won the Audience Award at SXSW in 2001 and was broadcast nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens in 2003. In addition, it has screened at over 40 national and international film festivals and conferences, as well as at countless grassroots screenings in conjunction with immigrant rights groups all over Austin and the rest of Texas.
She is currently producing the Texas segment of a national PBS documentary on the health insurance crisis. Prior to receiving her graduate degree in film, Heather spent eight years writing and photographing for the United Nations and several refugee and immigrant rights organizations, including in the Rwandan refugee camps after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
It's 1999, and the booming city of Austin, Texas keeps on growing — thanks largely to men like Ramon and Juan, who work some of the hardest jobs in an America that doesn't want them. Through their lives and a controversy over a local day labor program, Los Trabajadores/The Workers explores the contradictions that haunt America's dependence on and discrimination against immigrant labor.