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No Sweat tells the story of the clothes we wear and the people who make them by tracing those products back to the source Read more

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No Sweat tells the story of the clothes we wear and the people who make them by tracing those products back to the source

Tom Kavanaugh
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Tom Kavanaugh

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About this project

Sweatshop labor is a worldwide problem to which we, as consumers, contribute every day. As a cause it's not nearly as fashionable as global warming or other human rights problems, and rarely receives any attention. 

While traveling in Bangladesh several years ago I toured a garment factory where shirts were being made for U.S. consumers. It was a small factory and one that was considered good by Bangladesh standards. The women were paid a fair wage, worked reasonable hours, were not abused and were all part of a larger project to help Bangladeshi families pull themselves out of poverty, but from the perspective of a visiting American the conditions were far from ideal. While on the tour one name kept coming up: Wal-Mart. Wondering where my clothes were made and under what conditions, I got the idea to make a film to find the answer. To personalize the problem of sweatshop labor I will take five popular clothing items and trace each back to the country and factory where it was made, introducing viewers to the faces behind the clothes they wear. Each item will show a different angle of the story, from showing the vast difference between the pay of a sweatshop worker in China and an executive of the company that employs them, to dissecting a product to show what percentage of the price actually goes to the laborer who made it. The viewers will see that shoes aren’t just made by a machine but by a human being with a family who might be underpaid, abused, or even held and made to work against their will. After showing the problem, the documentary will then discuss common misconceptions about sweatshops and what to do about them, and will both speak to experts about how to fix the problem and show steps that are already being taken by some companies to fix the problem.  The goal is not to shut down factories which would only result in the loss of jobs of people who are most desperate for them, but to hold companies accountable and give their workers the pay and dignity they deserve as human beings.

Risks and challenges

Obviously when travelling in foreign countries a big challenge can be getting access to your subjects without interference from those who might not want you to expose them. We have already been in contact with NGOs in different countries and will work closely with them not only to ensure our safety and the safety of the people who are willing to talk to us, but also to help us navigate any tough situations that they have almost certainly encountered in the past.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    $25 reward

    7 backers

    A copy of the completed documentary for your own viewing pleasure.

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    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    5 backers

    A copy of the documentary autographed by the filmmakers.

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    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    $250 reward

    1 backer

    Receive a "thank you" in the credits of the movie as someone who helped the film happen.

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  • You selected
    $1,000 reward

    1 backer

    A producer credit for the film. There's nothing wrong with a film having 95 producers. Right?

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Funding period

- (40 days)