Sean Claffey’s latest documentary AMERICONNED focuses on the chronic and corrosive reality of income inequality in the US and the destabilizing effects its having on the vast majority of Americans. Radical inequality has led to radicalization at every level of society, and this powerful documentary depicts what happens when America hits its tipping point by looking back through our history at similar critical moments of instability. The labor movement of the past was born in times like these. Despite an increase in productivity in recent decades, compensation for the American worker has been stagnant. In addition, 47% of American jobs are at high risk of being lost to automation and A.I. by the mid-2030s. In the United States, there has been an upward redistribution of over $50 trillion from the bottom 90% to the top 1% over the last 40 years. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have created a protection racket for the rich, and corporations are deliberately crushing unions. In this David vs. Goliath story, Chris Smalls leads a movement to unionize Amazon workers for the first time, after the corporation fired Smalls for speaking up for workers’ rights. They are inspiring legions of workers to, as the late, great Congressman John Lewis said, get into “good trouble.” AMERICONNED director Seal Claffey joins us for a spirited conversation on the success and on-going efforts to organize major American companies and industry, the public’s increasing positive regarding the value of a workforce where people are able to afford housing, healthcare, and a comfortable future for themselves and their families as seen through the organizing efforts of people like Chris Smalls.
Award-winning documentary AMERICONNED will open theatrically in New York (Cinema Village), Los Angeles (Laemmle Monica Film Center) and major cities on June 9 with a VOD release in the US and Canada to follow on major platforms on June 13.
About the filmmaker – Director/Writer/Producer Sean Claffey has more than 25 years in the film industry spanning feature films, TV pilots, industry documentaries and commercials. Sean’s mission is to tell the stories of the voiceless and oppressed to shine the light into the darkness and expose oppression wherever it may be. Shine the Light Films was formed in 2020 and is committed to producing quality documentaries that shine a light on injustices around the globe. More information: https://shinethelightfilms.com
About the subject – Christian Smalls is the founder and president of the Amazon Labor Union, an independent, democratic, worker-led labor union at Amazon in Staten Island. He is also the founder of The Congress of Essential Workers (TCOEW), a nationwide collective of essential workers and allies fighting for better working conditions, better wages, and a better world. Smalls was formerly an Amazon warehouse supervisor, helping open three major warehouses in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut during his five years with the company, but he was fired in 2020 after organizing a protest against the company’s unsafe pandemic conditions. Smalls has been profiled by media outlets worldwide, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CBC Radio, Salon, and Jacobin. He lives in Hackensack, New Jersey.