The Harvest: Migrant Children’s Rights

Shine Global’s new film The Harvest seems to be a continuation of Edward Murrow’s Harvest of Shame.  Both works center on the plight of the children of the migrant working poor.  View the trailer and a complete description of the film below:

Harvest

The Story of the Children Who Work to Feed America.

More than 40 years ago, Edward R. Murrow’s HARVEST OF SHAME revealed the plight of desperately poor migrant workers in America, many of whom labored long hours for less than a dollar a day. Shockingly, little has changed during the past five decades.

A migrant family today earns on average less than $12,500 a year ‘ far below the poverty level. To survive, many parents are forced remove children from school to work in the fields: as a result, nearly 2/3 dropout of school permanently.

HARVEST tells the story of three of the more than 500,000 children of these migrant farm workers between the ages of 5 and 14. Although most of them are American citizens who work hard to feed us, they do so under the legal and social services radar and lack the protections that all other American children enjoy.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, which prohibits minors from working in hazardous occupations, and children under 14 from working under any circumstances, does not apply to child farm workers, who labor 10 to 12 hour days in sweltering temperatures. Pesticides are a constant threat, causing even more severe skin irritations and respiratory problems than those suffered by adults. Child farm workers are also far more likely to develop cancers in adulthood than others their age. Accidents are another serious threat, and 20% of all farm work fatalities are minors.

Despite the rigors of their lives, however, these children have ambitions. Many aspire to graduate from high school and go on to college and meaningful lives beyond the fields.

Cinematographer/Director U Roberto (Robin) Romano documents these young workers, who with their families travel across the US following the harvest, working throughout the spring, summer and early fall. He continues filming the children as they finally return to school in early November, struggle to catch up, only to be forced to leave school again the following April.

The children’s narratives drive the film. We will watch them interact with families and friends, listening closely as they share their hopes and dreams, confess their disappointments, and reveal their everyday lives. HARVEST will take viewers into America’s backyard to confront the uncomfortable truth that the very food we eat is supplied in large measure by youngsters who are themselves underfed and overworked.

Producer, Director and Cinematographer ‘ U Roberto (Robin) Romano

Producer – Rory O’Connor

Composer ‘ David Amram

Executive Producers ‘ Rory O’Connor, Albie Hecht and Susan MacLaury

HARVEST will be shot in high definition video. Principal photography began in Minnesota and North Dakota in June 2007, and will continue in Washington, DC and Northern California, Texas, Florida and New York through the 2008 harvest. Post-production will begin in early winter 2009, with the anticipated completion of the film by late Spring 2009.

U Roberto (Robin) Robin Romano is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer whose film projects include DEATH OF A SLAVE BOY and GLOBALIZATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS. STOLEN CHILDHOODS, which he co-directed and shot, was the first theatrically released feature documentary on global child labor and has contributed to the development and sustainment of many organizations, including Rugmark, the international campaign that advises consumers how to avoid buying rugs made by child laborers.

Documentary filmmaker and journalist Rory O’Connor is co-founder and president of the international media firm Globalvision, Inc. and The Global Center, an affiliated non-profit educational foundation. O’Connor’s television and film work has garnered much professional recognition, including a George Polk Award, a Writer’s Guild Award, two Emmys, an Iris, and a Cine Gold Eagle. He also oversees the not-for-profit media watchdog site MediaChannel.org, and is Editorial Director of the social news network NewsTrust.net.

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4 thoughts on “The Harvest: Migrant Children’s Rights

  1. As I get older, I notice that less things make my blood boil. Then I come across something like this. I just want to take these families under my wing and try to shelter them from the storm of slavery they are forced to endure.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    I personally believe we should be doing ALL that we can to grow our own food in our back yards, would that help these children?

  2. My friends Shaun and Jamie are filming a documentary on the Harvest of Hope organization, specifically on a benefit concert in St. Augustine March 6-8. Harvest of Hope helps families of migrant workers and also attends to eradicating injustices on the working poor similar to Shineglobal. There are at harvestofhope.net

  3. is there anywhere i can find the Harvest trailer on line still? it has been removed from You Tube . . . So powerful and really need it for connecting with some new groups on these issues. When will the film be available?

  4. Good question- tracking back to the youtube link in question, I see that it is down as well- not sure where else to go for it.

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