Welcome to Canaries!
Canaries in the Field is a 40-minute documentary about the experience of migrant farmworkers in the United States. A common misconception (particularly bandied about during political discourse) is that all migrant laborers are undocumented. This is dreadfully far from the truth. The United States has offered guestworker programs for decades, allowing a foreign-born labor force to come to the United States with visas and work during a specified time frame. There are many different visas (just look up Guest worker program on Wikipedia) to choose from, but this film focuses on the H-2A visa which is particularly designated for agricultural work. Like most work visas, the H-2A guarantees the same wages to American laborers, worker’s compensation, etc. Like most work visas, all these provisions are mere fantasy.
Canaries follows in the footsteps of other great migrant worker exposes like 1960′s Harvest of Shame and 1990′s H-2 Worker with one small difference: it’s 2011 and we still treat our farm hands like disposable labor.
So why should you care about this? Hypothetically, let’s say that basic human rights are not a huge priority for you. Hypothetically. Then you should still care about these workers for two reasons: first, because the more they are underpaid (or flat out not paid), the more U.S.-born workers are underpaid; second, because migrant laborers are dying and getting sick from pesticides in the fields–these pesticides are on the fruit and vegetables (and tobacco!) you come into contact with every day.
Canaries was filmed on location in the farmlands of central Mexico and western Florida and is set for release Spring of 2012. Click the tabs to the right for our official movie poster, info about the filmmakers and links to farmworker advocacy groups. Stay tuned for updated trailers, production stills and screening information and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!