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Sergio De La Torre collaborating with Vicky Funari and Global Exchange and fiscal sponsor Film Arts Foundation

Award: $35,000 Media Arts Grant awarded in 2001

Premiered: 2006

Installation artist and photographer Sergio de la Torre and filmmaker Vicky Funari collaborated with Global Exchange and Grupo Factor X to produce an hour-long bilingual documentary, Maquilapolis: City of Factories, about Tijuana factory workers and the impact of globalization on both sides of the United States-Mexico border.

The film uses multiple storytelling strategies to reflect the nature of life in the maquilladoros, the multinationally-owned assembly factories on the United States-Mexico border, weaving together interviews, verité scenes of the characters’ lives at home and work, video diaries shot by the participants themselves, industrial cityscapes based on De La Torre’s photographs, aerial landscapes exposing the geography of the maquiladora systems, and stylized images drawn from the participants’ memories and stories.

Co-producer and co-director Sergio De La Torre grew up in the Tijuana/San Diego border area and migrated to San Francisco as a college student. His photographic, performance, and installation works have focused on Diaspora/tourism and identity politics. Vicky Funari has been making award-winning films since 1988, focusing primarily on the lives of working women and on questions of cultural and gender identity.

Collaborating with the artists were Grupo Factor X, a Tijuana women’s group which helps factory workers organize for better working conditions and human rights, and Global Exchange, is a human rights organization dedicated to promoting environmental, political, and social justice around the world.