Intersections Sustainable Films – Waste and Labor Short Films

Wednesday, January 17, 2024
7:00 p.m.
Intersections Sustainable Films – Waste and Labor Short Films

I Am A Man: Memphis Sanitation Strike


(2008, United States, 10 min.)

I Am A Man details the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and the support Martin Luther King Jr. gave to the movement. “Determined to be men,” sanitation workers fought to be recognized as people, not replaceable machines that could be ignored. Striking against the city, workers pushed for better wages and safety measures, and despite harsh pushback and harrassment, they continued to fight for a better future. Connecting the themes of waste and labor, this film educates its viewers on an important history and strongly reminds us all that “whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity…it has dignity and it has worth.”

Plastic China

Jiu-Liang Wang

(2016, China, 37 min.)

Plastic China offers a looking glass into the life of Chinese laborers as they work to deal with the plastic waste of some of the largest industrialized nations in the world. From poor wages to dangerous working conditions to feelings of inadequacy, the film pushes us all to reassess the resources we use. Instead of mindlessly throwing material in a recycling bin, viewers should leave the film thinking about ways they can reduce their waste footprint, better recycle when necessary, and advocate for better conditions for those who deal with the plastic we consume.

el Empleo

Patricio Plaza & Santiago ‘Bou’ Grasso

(2008, Argentina, 6 min.)

El Empleo walks its viewers through the daily life of an “average” worker. In doing so, it highlights a fundamental truth in capitalist society, that every material good or service we consume comes with a human cost. Whether it is the table we eat at, the car we ride in, or the light in our home, human energy, time, and life is utilized. This idea of the human cost of labor must be considered as calls for a transition to a more renewable, sustainable future continue. For we cannot have a true equitable transition if labor concerns are ignored.  

This event is put on by Penn State Sustainability and the Center for Global Workers' Rights, with support from the CLA Sustainability Council.

Following the film, a post-film discussion panel will be held with guest speakers:

Virtual Event