Documenting the human costs of electronics: this film follows the stories & struggles of workers injured in electronics factories in China.
Interview with Director/Producer Heather White
Why did you make your film?
The project began as a book . We had no pre-production process and basically began filming while Heather was researching the issue of hidden occupational disease in Chinese smart phone production We filmed our characters experiences over 3 1/2 years and did not create the script until late 2015.
We all own cell phones and the problems revealed in the film connect to all of us. I want teens and young people to understand that the global economy currently operates without protections for either workers' health or our own safety from the poisonous chemicals used in production. There is no oversight and no testing. Babies are playing with iPads that were made with toxic chemicals and minerals. No one is accountable at the moment for the hazardous toxins used overseas in making our smart devices. The industry needs stronger standards, which they will not accept unless consumers demand it.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
We live in a connected world, made possible by armies of young people working and dying 8000 miles away in factories supplying to the world’s leading electronics brands.
You are likely a smart phone owner and COMPLICIT gives you the first opportunity to meet the young people who made your devices. Take an 89 min look at their journeys.
I feel it is important to connect the audience emotionally with the characters, to feel something at a deep level; these are young people whose health and in some cases lives have been destroyed working for global corporations who have no legal obligation to do anything about it . It was a goal for me that viewers empathize with the hardship our characters are facing, and consumers in Australia and elsewhere will decide to do something about it, and demand change.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
COMPLICIT offers a rare, intimate glimpse into the daily routines and struggles of a group of teenager workers who are paying with their health and lives making the devices we can't live without.
Workers and family members are filmed in their homes and daily lives as they tell their emotional stories. The big city lights of Guangzhou and Dongguan provide a sharp contrast to the picturesque scenery of the workers’ native villages in the rural countryside where their families work the land as they have for centuries. A sumptuous banquet in the countryside, a young teenager's coming-of-age celebration, and quiet moments with family members communicate the interconnectedness we all share, and the universality of the dreams of the individuals making our "can't do without" devices.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
We filmed interviews and the real time daily lives of our main characters over a period of 16 months.
During that time some workers died, one committed suicide and another disappeared on his way to work, ending our ability to include him in COMPLICIT. We didn't create a script until post-production. I assume that isn't how most films are made!
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I'm grateful the film is resonating with so many people worldwide.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
My goal is to have everyone go on to smart phone either see the film or become aware of the issue and want to do something about it . Please sign the petition to send a worldwide message to Apple and Samsung http://www.thepetitionsite.com/101/854/804/
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We need film festivalsdistributors and buyers to know about complicit - to make it available on broadcast TV streaming platforms educational outlets to the millions of people will learn about the unnecessary life-threatening illnesses perpetrated by the factories due to irresponsible behavior - and demand change
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I'm hoping in addition to film going audiences that the public sector in Australia those who purchase electronics products for the government will take the initiative to impose higher standards on global brands to insist that workers not be poisoned in making our electronics products
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Did you know that young workers are getting poisoned and sometimes dying making your smart phone?
Sign this petition if you want to be a part of changing the current reality.
Nearly 70K signatures so far.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Heather is working on the rollout of the film for the next 12 months
Lynn has already begun work on new projects with filmmaker Nanfu Wang.
Interview: July 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Length: 89 mins
Director: Heather White and Lynn Zhang
Producer: Heather White
Writer: Christopher Seward
About the writer, director and producer:
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Social media handles:
Funders: BritDOC and Bertha Foundation
Where can I see it in the next month? Melbourne Doc festival July 14