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Stitching Our Future 2003


Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Barbara Sostaric
Directed by Barbara Sostaric
VHS, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Business, Latin American Studies, Needlework, Social Work, South American Studies, Women's Studies

Date Entered: 05/28/2004

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

The Rocinha Cooperative of Women Artisans and Seamstresses is a textile and sewing collective based in Rio de Janeiro’s largest and poorest favela or slum. Started in 1981 by a Brazilian social worker, Coopa-Roca currently employs nearly 100 local women who use recycled and donated fabric to create and fabricate high-end designer clothing and home merchandise. Finding a way to earn self-esteem in a male dominated culture and income in a fickle industry that relies heavily on sweatshops for cheap labor, the women of Coopa-Roca have received international recognition for their intricate handiwork used to embellish haute couture clothing and furniture lines in South America, Europe and the United States.

In Portuguese, with English subtitles, the documentary provides a brief history of the remarkable group and describes how work is assigned and decisions are collectively carried out for the benefit of all. Interviews with founder Maria Teresa Leal and with several women in the cooperative give viewers an understanding of both the business and human aspects of this merchandising enterprise An interesting introduction to a unique and successful social program, this film is recommended.