2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: DOLORES

Peter Bratt celebrates an unheralded pioneer of the modern labor rights movement.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

History tells us Cesar Chavez transformed the US labor movement by leading the first farm workers’ union. But missing from this narrative is his equally influential co-founder, Dolores Huerta, who fought tirelessly alongside Chavez for racial and labor justice and became one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century.

Like so many powerful women advocates, Dolores and her sweeping reforms were – and still are – sidelined and diminished. Even as she empowered a generation of immigrants to stand up for their rights, her relentless work ethic was constantly under attack. False accusations, from foes and friends alike, of child neglect and immoral behavior – she married three times and raised 11 children – pushed Dolores out of the very union she helped create.

Peter Bratt’s provocative and energizing documentary challenges an incomplete history. Through beautifully woven archival footage and interviews from contemporaries and from Dolores herself, now an octogenarian, the film sets the record straight on one of the most effective and undervalued civil and labor rights leaders in modern US history.

Some Background:

  • Peter Bratt
    This is Bratt’s third feature, and first documentary. His two previous films – LA MISSION (2009) and FOLLOW ME HOME (1996) – both also debuted at Sundance.


  • Brian Benson
    Like Bratt, this marks Benson’s first documentary credit as producer. He has produced or co-produced several Sundance fiction alums, most recently HOWL (2010), and assistant directed alums DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL (2015) and LA MISSION.

Associate Producer:

  • Angelica Santana
    This is the first producing credit for Santana, daughter of legendary musician Carlos Santana, the film’s executive producer.

Consulting Producer:

  • Benjamin Bratt
    Actor Benjamin Bratt previously produced and starred in his brother Peter Bratt’s LA MISSION.

Executive Producer:

  • Carlos Santana
    This marks the first documentary feature project executive produced by the acclaimed multiple Grammy Award winner.


  • Jessica Congdon
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE MASK YOU LIVE IN (2015, producer/editor)

    In addition to her previous Sundance nonfiction credits, Congdon also cut Sundance narrative alum DOPAMINE (2003), which was coproduced by Benson.

Why You Should Watch:
Featuring fantastic archival material and candid commentary from Huerta, her family, and other figures involved in her social justice struggles, Bratt’s film serves as a necessary corrective to conventional historical accounts that have downplayed the vital roles played by female organizers.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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