Ghostly Labor

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“Ghostly Labor: A Dance Film” explores the history of labor in the US–Mexico borderlands through Tap Dance, Mexican Zapateado, Son Jarocho, Afro Caribbean movement, and live music. Co-directed by John Jota Leaños and Vanessa Sanchez, this work brings together polyrhythmic movement and an original score to look at the (ongoing) years of systemic exploitation of labor while highlighting the power and joy of collective resistance. 

Based on farmworker interviews in California, this work honors the sacred hands that feed us and was filmed on Avila Garcia Farms with support from Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS), a non-profit advocacy organization for farmworkers in Half Moon Bay, CA. A full-length dance theater production of Ghostly Labor will premiere in 2023.

Ghostly Labor: A Dance Film has been selected for the Docs Without Borders Film Festival, Wild Sound Film Festival (winner of best Film), the San Souci Film Festival of Dance Cinema, the Experimental Dance & Music Film Festival (winner of Best Sound & Music), International Music Video Underground Festival & Encontre Internacional de Videodansa in Valencia, Spain!

Listen to co-directors Vanessa Sanchez & John Jota Leaños in a podcast with the Experimental Film festival director. See the film in person at the San Souci Festival Premiere at Museum of Boulder 9/2-9/4 & in Virtual Screening I during Hispanic Heritage Month 9/15-9/25.

To inquire about screening the film, please contact or leave us a message through the contact page.