Untitled Labor Doc

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Pre-Production


An investigation of the history, corruption and recent consequences surrounding an escalating turf war between real estate developers and labor unions who will stop at nothing to keep workers building by their own rules in the most expensive city in the world for construction.


Ten years after the recession, a growing non-union labor market is threatening to unseat the unions’ stronghold in NYC. After a series of unsuccessful project labor agreements, compromise seems bleak. As allegations of corruption and unfair labor practices begin to surface, this film will shine a spotlight on day-to-day struggles facing the middle-class men and women whose guaranteed wages and stable futures are now marked uncertain by a larger than life construction war.


The danger in writing an artistic statement is the over-simplification of process and intent. In addition, being that film is largely a visual medium, the experience of watching is mainly in reaction to movement—and movement must be felt. We can only therefore hope to reach some semblance of that effect with text. Our intention is to create work that’s dually hyper-specific and open-ended. This means that the scope can be minuscule or operatic. It calls to mind Mel Brooks when he states “Tragedy is when I cut my finger/ comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die”. And this point leads us naturally to genre: we are interested in the blending of conventions and the creation of new ones. Omitting humor would be a defiance of our sensibilities, whereas if our work was only funny, we’d be denying an inherent duality. Where the project takes us is what gets us excited. Not wanting to bend or coerce an idea into submission but letting it speak to us. With documentaries in particular, this is almost always the case, but we’re not just talking about the sculpting that happens in post-production. We are acknowledging that we don’t know anything until the project shows itself to us. It’s this blind submission that gives us a thrill. Cinema must be both for the fanatic and the first timer. Just as Cocteau implores in the preamble to Beauty and the Beast: ‘I ask of you a little of this childlike sympathy and, to bring us luck, let me speak four truly magic words, childhood's "Open Sesame": Once upon a time…’. Ultimately the biggest plea we can make is for whomever is reading this to watch our films. Already in discussing them, we feel that we’ve cheated the format, like a voiceover that attempts to explain any gaps or discrepancies. We believe that it’s exactly in this space of uncertainty that the real film hides and words are almost futile in describing that process.


Ella Hatamian - Co-Director/Producer
ELLA HATAMIAN is a film director, producer and editor from Los Angeles, CA. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where her thesis film was nominated for both the Wasserman Award and a grant from the National Board of Review, she enrolled in USC’s prestigious Peter Stark Producing Program, where she continued her graduate education. She has since been selected to participate in IFP’s Narrative Film Lab and Sundance’s Catalyst Forum for documentary films. Her film, "Pants," won her the Best Director Award from Fusion Film Festival before going viral on YouTube (7 million+ views). Additionally, Ella has edited two feature-length films: "White Rabbit" (Official Selection Sundance Film Festival) and "Sticky Notes" (starring Ray Liotta), and produced a number of shorts and features that have screened across the US and worldwide to critical acclaim, securing both theatrical and digital distribution deals. Her most recent documentary, "They Call Us Monsters" (co-producer), tackles the difficult subject of juvenile justice reform in California. It premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, won the PBS Independent Lens Audience Award in 2017 and is currently streaming on Netflix and Amazon.

Stiven Luka - Co-Director/Producer
STIVEN LUKA is an Albanian-American filmmaker and theater-maker. His live works have played across the US, from New York to San Francisco—in revered venues such as PS122 and The Bushwick Starr—and abroad, including HAU in Berlin. Directing credits include Fish Will Bite; Joy Don’t Kill; Tight Pinch and Other Ear. He’s also the creator of Crystal, a character that will appear next on the first season of Crystal’s The World, premiering on YouTube later this year. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he has also worked as a publicist on such award-winning films as In The Fade (Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture- Foreign Language) and Oscar winner John Ridley’s documentary Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 (National Board of Review’s Freedom of Expression Award).


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