As film it is compelling … as a window on union decision-making, it is remarkable. -- Chicago Tribune
This Academy Award–winning film (Best Documentary) is a remarkable look at the yearlong fight between Hormel meatpackers in Austin, Minnesota, and factory executives in the mid-eighties. Kopple’s setup of the workers strong belief in the middle class promise of the “American Dream” is superb and fascinating but cuts to benefits and wages cause the workers to strike, culminating in the deunionization of the entire meatpacking industry. 1990, 35mm, 98 minutes. Print courtesy the Academy Film Archive.
A discussion with the director follows.
About the Presenters
A director and producer of narrative films and documentaries, Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award–winning filmmaker. Her most recent project is the documentary Miss Sharon Jones!, which premiered at TIFF in September 2015 and was the opening-night film of DocNYC. Kopple produced and directed Harlan County USA and American Dream, both winners of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Her other films include Running From Crazy, The House of Steinbrenner, Woodstock: Now and Then, Shut Up and Sing, Havoc, A Conversation with Gregory Peck, My Generation, Wild Man Blues, Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson, and many more.
Since 2010, Deirdre Haj has been the festival director of Full Frame, the nation’s largest documentary-only film festival, held in Durham, North Carolina. In addition to her Full Frame duties, Haj is vice president of the Film Festival Alliance and a sought-after panelist and jurist at universities, festivals, and conferences across the country.
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