Bildner Center » Events

Farmingville

July 8, 2004 - 6:00 pm

Farmingville tells the story of a small Long Island community and the impact of the growing presence of day laborers from Mexico. This documentary is a powerful reminder of the need to constructively and imaginatively address labor flows between Mexico and the United States.

In September 2000, the hate-based attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers in the small suburban community of Farmingville, Long Island, brought national attention to an unlikely spot for an immigration war. Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini‘s timely Farmingville documents one year on the heated battleground of this community and lets it speak of a larger national dilemma. Farmingville received the prestigious Special Documentary Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival

Residents of Farmingville became unsettled when seemingly overnight 1500 predominantly unemployed Mexican men became new residents of their quiet middle-class population of 15,000. Particularly bothersome was the fact that they hung about all day on the streets waiting for offers from passing trucks of day jobs in local construction and landscaping industries. Feeling a threat to community safety and standards, a number of residents formed the Satchem Quality of Life to hasten some remedy via the local legislature. However, they quickly opposed the idea of a proposed hiring hall and aligned themselves with national anti-immigration groups. With protestors for both sides joining the unemployed men on the street, the setting was ripe for accusations of racism and potential violence. The only thing frustratingly clear to both sides is that much of the problem stems from inaction by the federal government. Sandoval and Tambini maintain an admirably even-handed treatment, with both sides getting to present their stories, and most of the heat is reserved for verité sequences of street corner and hearing room flare-ups.

Free admission. Seats are limited and reservation is required. Reservation will be available on a first come first serve basis.