An award-winning documentary that follows the lives of five women migrant farmworkers in Wayne County will be shown Sunday, March 2 in Central Square.
"After I Pick the Fruit: The Lives of Migrant Women," by Nancy Ghertner, will be screened at 12:30 p.m. at First Universalist Society of Central Square, 3243 Fulton Ave. (state Route 49 just west of US Route 11). Ghertner will speak after the 93-minute screening.
The film begins and ends in the apple orchards around Sodus, but includes footage shot in Chilapa de Diaz, Mexico; at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, the orange groves of Florida, the Capitol Building in Albany and the women's homes when the work day is done. Ghertner spent 10 years filming the women.
Sunday's program is co-sponsored by the Workers' Center of Central New York, based in Syracuse.
"After I Pick the Fruit" follows the women as they struggle to fulfill their roles as workers, wives, mothers and members of an isolated community that's almost invisible to the outside world. It is an intensely personal film, born of friendships between Ghertner and each of the five women, who ask to be identified only as Soledad, Vierge, Maria, Elisa and Lorena.
The Bush Administration's post-9/11 crackdown on illegal immigration is pivotal. Three of the women are undocumented. Ghertner shows how raids in 2006 affect the women, their families, farmers and residents in and around Sodus.
"I was inspired to make the film after seeing women working in the fields and orchards near my hometown of Sodus," Ghertner says on her website, www.afteripickthefruit.com. "I wanted to meet them, to understand how they lived and what happened -- after they picked the fruit."
Once she got to know the women, Ghertner says she was driven "to make the invisible visible" and raise awareness about the human price of getting fresh fruit to the supermarket.
The film earned an award of excellence at the 2012 International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration, and Equality. It received a documentary award at the Southern Appalachian International Film Festival.
In 2012, "After I Pick the Fruit" was an official selection for both the Reel to Reel International Film Festival and the Twin Cities Film Fest.
Ghertner will have DVDs available for purchase after the Central Square screening. Proceeds, less production costs, benefit the Las Mujeres Divinas Scholarship Fund, which supports farmworker women and their children's education.
Donations in support of the Workers' Center of Central New York also will be accepted, although the program is free. The Workers' Center advocates and empowers low-wage and vulnerable workers, including farmworkers.