An all-American tale about an all-American garment: The T-shirt, NO SWEAT takes a wild ride into the bowels of Los Angeles garment industry. Mostly undocumented workers at American Apparel and SweatX are offered better wages, benefits, even a shot at worker-ownership. But what's really behind the label? Dark, dingy factories. Workers hunched elbow-to-elbow over machines. Nike. Guess. Kathy Lee Gifford. We are all too familiar with sweatshops, operating both in the U.S. and overseas. But does what's behind the label of what you wear always have to be linked to worker exploitation? Enter SweatX and American Apparel, two hip T-shirt factories that operate in downtown Los Angeles , just blocks from each other. Both companies are committed to creating "sweat-free" clothing (i.e. their workers earn livable wages and get benefits, work in safe environments, etc). While Sweat X is backed by $2.5 million from ice cream-maker turned social activist Ben Cohen, (of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream), American Apparel was built from the ground up by controversial self-described Canadian "schmata" hustler, Dov Charney. "NO SWEAT" is a fast-paced, behind-the scenes documentary that follows these two companies for one year, comparing their divergent business practices, interviewing workers, following a union drive, and zeroing in on the hopes and dreams of the garment workers themselves. While Dov gets slapped with sexual harassment allegations and openly resists unionization, Sweat X struggles to survive in the tight economic conditions that have sent so much of their competition overseas. Racy ads, or sound labor practices? Legalize L.A. , or subcontract the work? So much of what both companies are grappling with resonates on a global scale, as the garment industry provides a first-stop for immigrant workers fleeing subhuman conditions in China , Southeast Asia, and South America . So what's behind the label of your T-shirt?
About the Director
Amie has been a labor activist/independent filmmaker for the past fifteen years. Past documentary films have garnered international screenings and awards, from the Motion Picture Academy, American Film Institute and the International Documentary Association, among others. Past works include: Uncommon Ground: From Los Angeles to South Africa (1994) about youth and apartheid; Stripped and Teased: Tales from Las Vegas Women,(2001) ; broadcast on PBS and theatrically distributed; One Day Longer: The Story of the Frontier Strike , (2003); commissioned by HEREIU, and Eye of the Storm, The Story of the Lockout for the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union, ILWU (2005). Recently, Amie was awarded an ITVS/Lincs grant for the film Fallon , NV , about a childhood leukemia cluster in a rural Nevada town and Naval Air Base, which was broadcast on PBS in 2004. Amie has field produced numerous segments for such clients as BBC, Discovery Channel, Sweden Channel-1, Pro-Sieben, (Germany), Canal-Plus (France), the Learning Channel, and HBO/Cinemax. Amie also co-founded the CineVegas International Film Festival in 1998, bringing world cinema for the first time to the Las Vegas Strip. She served as Artistic Director for three years before Trevor Groth of Sundance took over. She is a graduate of Yale University (B.A. 1985) and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (M.F.A., 1991). Amie is also a proud member of I.A.T.S.E. local 720 as a camera operator.