Review: ‘Migrant Dreams’

Hot Docs 2016

2 mins read

Migrant Dreams
(Canada, 88 min.)
Dir Min Sook Lee
Programme: Canadian Spectrum (World Premiere)


In Min Sook Lee’s Migrant Dreams the director takes her activist lens to Leamington, Ontario, home to the largest concentration of greenhouses in North America. The film focuses on a group of Indonesian women who have been recruited to work in the greenhouses through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The film reveals that while the women come to Canada for a better economic opportunity, they find themselves exploited by a corrupt system that treats foreign workers as modern-day indentured labourers.

Through access from the organisation Justicia for Migrant Workers, Lee admirably embeds herself in the migrant worker’s struggle, exposing the injustices they are forced to put up with as seemingly naïve foreigners who speak little English and live in fear of deportation. As Lee points out on the film’s website, “the choice to participate in the film is an act of defiance; by speaking out they put their livelihoods on the line.” Ready to resist but afraid to lose their jobs, these migrant workers are embraced by Lee, who provides a compassionate outlet of understanding. Migrant Dreams operates in the classic model of activist documentary filmmaking, using film as a tool to shed light on uncomfortable truths and present them to audiences as a force for change.

Migrant Dreams screens:
-Sunday, May 1 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 9:00 PM
-Tuesday, May 3 at Cineplex Scotiabank at 1:15 PM
-Sunday, May 8 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 1:00 PM


Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit for more information.

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