: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


While he endures the longest strike in Alabama history, coal miner Braxton Wright starts working in an Amazon facility and teams up with workers to unionize it. ‘American Union’ portrays life on and off the picket line, reveals the challenges the labor movement faces trying to expand into new industries in the rural South, and shows what happens when workers can no longer rely on the institutions they once believed in.


AMERICAN UNION follows the fight for the American dream at work by tracing a path between two Southern towns located just 30 miles apart on the map but separated by over 150 years of industrialization. This path takes us to the frontline of the battle to define the future of work, a fight that has the potential to affect us all.


I grew up in the 1980s in Saugus, Massachusetts - a working-class inner suburb of Boston. My dad worked a union job for 30 years, giving him a steady wage to support our family.

Growing up in this time and place shaped my interest in the territories of labor and society.

My work documents the nuances, spaces, and conditions of labor in today’s neoliberal political economy. In 2016, I formed AMAZING INDUSTRIES, a part-artwork, part-company, exploring Amazon’s impact on workers. All of my past work led me to start making ‘American Union’ - a story about people in the labor movement.

In early 2021, I drove to Bessemer, Alabama after catching wind of the Amazon organization drive. While I was on the ground, I heard about the forthcoming miner’s strike in Brookwood. Observing and filming these events immersed me in one of the most significant labor battles in American history.

My work is based on building trust with the people and participants in my projects. This trust, one of my core values, is what grounds my work in reality.

'American Union' places a lens on the complexities of a strike and what it's like to live through one. Through methods of observational and participatory documentary, the film captures the personal experiences of those living through the battle. The film draws connections between this personal space to old versus new labor models and the power dynamics and interests between workers and corporations.

As an artist and filmmaker, only by making ‘American Union’ can I elevate the story, and its potential for social impact. The film is my way of better understanding the times and apparatus we are living in.


Brett Wallace - director / cinematographer

Brett Wallace is an award-winning New York-based artist and filmmaker exploring work, technology, and the greater economy. He is best known for documentary film and installation projects which explore the subjects and territories of labor in the 21st century. His most recent short film, Truckers, a story about truck driving mavericks on the open road, was screened at the Socially Relevant Film Festival. The film was also exhibited in “The Question of Intelligence: AI and the Future of Humanity” at the Parsons School of Design and was a finalist for the 2020 Lumen Prize in moving image. Recent reviews of his work include The New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, Art in America, ARTnews, Artnet, Artslant, Hyperallergic, and BmoreArt. Brett holds a BFA for the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School.

James Blue - executive producer

James Blue is a seasoned, award-winning television and documentary producer and executive. He is the owner and chief creative o?cer of Storyboard Pictures, a New York-based production company. In July, the company executive produced the inaugural United Justice Coalition Summit for Jay Z’s Rocnation. James most recently served as Head of Smithsonian Channel and Senior Vice President of MTV News and Documentaries within Paramount Global’s MTV Entertainment Group. Under his leadership, Smithsonian Channel partnered with Oprah Winfrey’s HARPO Productions on The Color of Care, a multi-platform documentary project on racial disparities – exposed by the COVID crisis – in the delivery of healthcare in the United States. James and his team created a number of programs currently in production including The Exhibit, an art competition reality show produced in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. For Smithsonian Channel and the MTV Entertainment Group, James oversaw the development of some 150 annual hours of documentary and informational programming.

Geoff Arbourne - producer

Geoff Arbourne is an Emmy award-winning producer and founder of Inside Out Films. Geoff started out by producing three short films in South Africa, Israel and Mozambique. One of which was released on the Guardian website and attracted over 1 million views in the first 24 hours. He is a graduate of EAVE, Sundance Institute Fellow recipient, and producer of the award-winning documentary FOREVER PURE - directed by Maya Zinshtein. His second feature documentary, AFRICAN APOCALYPSE, featuring the poet-activist Femi Nylander had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival and was supported by BFI Doc Society and BBC Arts. Geoff is currently in production with his third feature documentary, XENOS aka MEN IN THE SUN, directed by the award-winning Palestinian director Mahdi Fleifel. In 2019, Geoff was selected for the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE) programme to develop a fiction TV series with former British diplomat Carne Ross called THE COUNCIL. A procedural series set within the little known, yet vivid, international world of one of the globe's most significant institutions - the United Nations. Geoff is producing the series with Robyn Slovo (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, McMafia). Geoff is also currently working as an Executive Producer on two feature documentaries in post production. The first, LONDON RECRUITS, is directed by Welsh filmmaker Gordon Main and aims for a release in the summer of 2022. And secondly, BLINDSPOT, directed by Palestinian filmmaker Ali Al-Arian and written by David Riker, aims for a release in early 2023.


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