DVD: China Blue

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Like no other film before, China Blue is a powerful and poignant journey into the harsh world of sweatshop workers. Shot clandestinely, this is a deep-access account of what both China and the international retailers don't want us to see – how the clothes we buy are actually made.
Following a pair of denim jeans from birth to sale, China Blue links the power of the U.S. consumer market to the daily lives of a Chinese factory owner and two teenaged female factory workers. The working conditions Jasmine and her friends must endure are harsh beyond imagination. Filmed both in the factory and in the workers' faraway village, this documentary provides a rare, human glimpse at China's rapid transformation into a free market society - and the consequences.
The filmmakers were repeatedly jailed and their videotape confiscated. But they persisted to produce this unprecedented inside look at sweatshop life in China today. The film is a remarkable eye-opener. Besides the film's distributor, we are the only other source in the U.S. for this DVD.

• "Micha Peled's stunning undercover film follows Jasmine, one of many teenagers working at a blue jeans factory, struggling to survive brutal work conditions. Shot clandestinely and without permission from Chinese authorities, China Blue takes a rare and poignant look at the individuals who toil day-to-day to make the clothes we buy. The film remains banned in China today." - Brooke Shelley Boggs, PBS Independent Lens • Winner of the Amnesty Human Rights Award at the Amsterdam International film Festival
• Official Selection - Human Rights Film Festival
• Official Selection - Full Frame Documentary Festival
• Official Selection - Toronto International Film Festival
• Winner - Best Documentary. Mar Del Plata Film Festival

• "Compelling...gives the phrase 'sweatshop' a whole different perspective." - Miami Herald
• "Peled's film is a must-see - if not by the average consumer, then by politicians and U.N. officials." - Film Journal International
• "Surprising access and intimacy." – Variety
• "Heartbreaking, truly unforgettable." – Boston Phoenix
• "China Blue lends itself to sparking classroom discussion because the story it tells is both crystal-clear and complex.
• "Eye-opening...Peled was harrassed at every turn by Chinese officials, but he managed to get this shocking film made. That's just one reason China Blue is worthy of praise." - N.Y. Post
• "Surprisingly fair-minded...it gives its heart and soul to the girls." - the Nation

Until American consumers begin to care about the injustices to the workers in the sweatshops that make 60% of the goods sold in our country, this system of shameful child labor will continue and grow. This film could be the turning point in U.S. consumers' consciousness - if only enough of us see it, change our buying habits and act to demand change. U.S. importers rationalize this system and turn a blind eye to its grim reality, eager to cash in on low cost at the real expense of grossly exploited human labor. Show it to your friends and neighbors. Discuss what you've seen.
It was shown on PBS TV in March 2007. A co-production of ITVS and Teddy Bear Films in association with CPB, CAAM, with additional funding from the Sundance Documentary Fund.


"China Blue lends itself to sparking classroom discussion because the story it tells is both crystal-clear and complex. The camera team got amazing access, so we feel in touch with what is real. And as a result, there are no bad guys. Everyone is trying to survive and succeed. Where is it in the system -- that starts with a factory in China and ends with us as consumers -- that the problems we see are going to be fixed?"
– Andrew Nathan, Chair, Department of Political Science, Columbia University

"China Blue puts a human face on the contentious issue of 'cheap Chinese labor.' It shows us the links between the rural and urban areas, the farms and factories in China. Although the work is grueling and bosses often unscrupulous, we do see that the young workers who migrate to the burgeoning industrial zones have unprecedented opportunities to meet people from elsewhere in China, learn about city life and global popular culture. The film makes an excellent tool for stimulating classroom discussion on a broad range of topics impacting not only China, but the rest of the world as well."
– Thomas B. Gold, Chair, Department of Sociology, UC-Berkeley, Director, Berkeley China Initiative

"China Blue offers an illuminating window onto the normally hidden worlds of global production. It provides unparalleled access to the everyday lives of garment workers in China, giving them voice, and giving a face to the reality underlying China's emergence as the factory floor to the world. For those interested in globalization, economic development, or current controversies around sweatshops, China Blue is an excellent introduction to the experiences of workers from developing countries - even those supposedly 'winning' through globalization."
– Dara O'Rourke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental and Labor Policy, University of California at Berkeley

"Anyone who watches this movie...cannot help but gain some greater insight into what 'holism' and 'globalization' mean in the modern world. Not only are other aspects of Chinese society changing as it's economy changes...but the changes in China are being felt in the West and vice versa...Hopefully, American viewers of this film will think more critically about the jeans they wear, their own industrial history, the phenomenon of globalization, and the human cost of providing goods at ever-lower prices."
– David Eller, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Anthropology Review Database

"This eye-opening documentary will have particular value for students of sociology, Asian studies, and economics. Jasmine's plight can serve as an excellent springboard for discussions about women's and worker's rights and the economic responsibility of American consumers."
– School Library Journal

"China Blue is a revealing and quite moving inside look at China's emerging capitalist system that should make Western viewers think twice about the human cost of buying apparel with 'made in China' labels. Recommended."
– Video Librarian

"We may know that our jeans are made in sweatshops in China, but this poignant and well-documented film makes us see the whole picture...[China Blue] should be seen by all audiences. Highly Recommended."
– Library Journal

"Does an excellent job of illustrating the 'human face' of globalization, and specifically the often-concealed linkages between people at different ends of a commodity chain...Teachers interested in discussing how commodity chains work in practice will make their task much easier, and more relevant to students, by showing China Blue...Suitable for both the university and high school classroom; since the film's central characters are teenagers, high school students can especially relate to the story and are likely to be captivated by the differences between their own lives and the difficult lives depicted in China Blue."
– Asian Educational Media Service

"A twenty-first century version of sweatshops, this is more than just the plight of three young women who work and live in the blue jeans factory. It is about the impact of the consumer market upon the lives of people across the globe. Recommended for high school students and other consumers who have a social conscience."
– Educational Media Reviews Online

"China Blue is more than an exercise in cinematic activism...the film develops a natural dramatic structure that's profoundly affecting. Mr. Peled doesn't just record the girl's indignities, he listens to their dreams...China Blue examines the plight of the world's largest pool of cheap labor and traces its exploitation to a retail outlet near you."
– The New York Times

"Heartbreaking, moving...This is an unforgettable film."
– The San Francisco Chronicle

"Micha X. Peled's marvelous documentary about the young women who work in a Chinese jeans factory is an empathetic and revealing study. With probing access and a level of detail similar films have failed to obtain, the film doesn't just describe the tough working conditions of these factories - it draws vigorous, charming portraits of the women who work there. This is one of the best of many recent documentaries about globalization."
– New York Magazine

"Heartbreaking yet boldly essential...fairly balanced and richly human."
– The Seattle Times

"Compelling...gives the phrase 'sweatshop' a whole different perspective."
– Miami Herald

"The tacit fury of China Blue."
– Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

"What if, when you stuck your hand into the pocket of a new pair of brand-name jeans, you pulled out a letter from one of the exploited workers who had slaved and sweated over your denim? Would you be surprised if the writer acted more curious than angry? Would you chuckle when she wondered why you need such tall, wide pants? That's the experience of watching China Blue...Refreshing."
– The Boston Globe

"A riveting documentary...A heart-wrenching story of the exploitation of young optimism and energy by...the desire for profit. See it before you head off to the mall for that clothing sale."
– The Marin Pacific Sun

"Intimate and rigorously detailed...remarkable level of access and the complex portrait of globalization as an intractable beast that relies on consumer complicity in viewing foreign laborers as subhuman."
– Time Out New York

"Eye opening...[filmmaker] Peled was harassed at every turn by Chinese officials, but he managed to get this shocking film made. That's just one reason China Blue is worthy of praise."
– New York Post

"Surprisingly fair-minded...it gives its heart and soul to the girls."
– The Nation

"There's a terrible irony to the designer jeans uniformly worn by teenage laborers featured in China Blue, Micha X. Peled's meticulously livid exposι of a sweatshop in Southern China."
– Village Voice and S.F. Weekly

"Bay Area documentarian Micha X. Peled got unprecedented access to a blue jeans factory...It's a vιritι portrait of adolescents who are instantly recognizable, though their sweatshop environs strike us as nearly unendurable."
– The San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Pic's degree of access and intimacy is surprising, even more so when closing intertitles reveal Chinese authorities did try to shut down the filmmakers several times...Engaging in character and narrative terms...Much of China Blue is charming, because its subjects are...Micha Peled's docu China Blue makes a stronger case against worker exploitation than any news item could."
– Daily Variety

"The Best Documentary of Toronto 2005? Micha Peled's China Blue, a heartbreaking, truly unforgettable 'cinema verite' stay with two teenage girls employed in a Chinese bluejean factory. It's even worse than the news stories, the exploitation, degradation, and downright slavery of millions of Chinese peasants who have traveled to the cities looking for work."
– Gerald Peary, The Boston Phoenix

"An intimate and eye-opening look into the personal lives of sweatshop workers...The film is an unflinching indictment of globalization."
– The Marin Independent Journal

"It is difficult, but necessary, to watch China Blue. For those who take shopping for consumer goods for granted...this behind-the-scenes look at how one popular item is produced will leave you chilled...China Blue is a must-see."
– Film Journal International

"China Blue can burst through the typical abstract depiction of this problem in order to confront its human dimension. It's a shocking experience."
– The L Magazine

"Without (Chinese) government knowledge or approval, San Francisco filmmaker Micha X. Peled shot a stunningly candid portrait of the lively teenagers who make blue jeans."
– Release Print

"Commendable in its fair depiction of the problems faced by the textile industry."
– Seattle Post Intellingencer

"It may be the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar, but there ought to be some recognition of the Year of the Bullfrog in honor of Bullfrog Films...Bullfrog has a real treasure in China Blue...This is where Western manufacturing jobs have fled, dear Wal-Mart shoppers, and here are the peasants that big-business advocates claim are uplifted by globalization...See China Blue, any way you can, in this aptly named Year of the Pig."
– The Cleveland Free Times

"A compelling film that lets us live inside the world of the people - mainly young Chinese women - who make the majority of the jeans we all wear every day...The mere fact that likely every single person benefits from the labor and minimal salaries of these women makes the film important for all to see, especially teenagers."
– Jury Citation, Vermont International Film Festival

"Micha X. Peled knows that if the world is connected by some common thread, that thread is being stitched by an underpaid worker in a sweatshop in a hemisphere away...China Blue [is] an intimate and eye-opening look into the personal lives of sweatshop workers."
– The Oakland Tribune

"There's a terrible irony...to the designer jeans uniformly worn by the teenage laborers featured in China Blue, Micha X. Peled's meticulously livid exposθ of a sweatshop in southern China."
– Seattle Weekly

"Micha X. Peled's documentary is shockingly thorough...and highly provoking...It may be close to impossible to mandate responsible capitalism, but China Blue shows us exactly what's at stake."
– The Stranger

"China Blue is...designed to make Westerners face the fact that their relatively high standard of living comes at the expense of the virtually-enslaved indigenous peoples of the Third World...Excellent (4 stars)."
– Kam Williams, New York Film Critics Online

"[A film] you'll kick yourself for missing...[China Blue] will haunt your future shopping trips, which is actually a good thing."
– Missoula (Montana) Independent

"China Blue is a gut check for anyone who doesn't know about labor conditions inside China...Thinking about the consequences of our consumer choices isn't easy, but Peled's story of Chinese factory workers makes us confront the connection between our cheap goods and their toil."
– Students For A Free Tibet

"Eye-opening, infuriating -- and heartbreaking...China Blue asks us to look hard, without the intercession of cheery marketing and attractive prices: These are the exploited children behind the clothes we buy, wear and discard so cavalierly."
– Pittsburgh City Paper

"China Blue exposes the hard truth of physical labor in our modern world of worker's rights and progress."

– Daily Nebraskan

"Enough to make you feel more than a little guilty every time you put on a pair of jeans...But, more importantly, it focuses on an issue - workers' rights and the need for fair pay - that is overlooked in go-go-go globalism with heart and intensity."
– Lincoln Journal Star

"No matter where your denim was cut, stitched, and stone-washed, you owe it to your conscience to view China Blue, a documentary that will make you squirm out of your pants."
– The Press Republican

"[China Blue] emerges as a charming character study heavily laced with strong damnations rather than grating with the activist agitprop stylings that so often cloud well-meaning tales of sorrow."
– Green Cine

"There's a new breed of documentary film that is trying to tear down the distance between what you own and the lives of the people who made it for you and China Blue...does so with considerable warmth."
– North Adams Transcript

"Peled captures the delicate balance between workers, retailers, and consumers...A powerful examination of the hidden costs behind every bargain."
– Columbus Alive


Audience Award Winner, PBS Independent Lens
Silver Chris Award, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Amnesty Human Rights Award, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
Award of Excellence, Society for Visual Anthropology, American Anthropological Association
Nominated, Joris Ivens Award, IDFA
CINE Golden Eagle
Silver Plaque, HUGO Television Awards, Chicago International Film Festival
Honorable Mention, Vancouver International Film Festival
Best Documentary, International Independent Film Festival of Mar del Plata, Argentina
Honorable Mention, Vermont International Film Festival
Special Mention, Cinemabiente Environmental Film Festival, Torino, Italy
Toronto International Film Festival
Opening Night Film, Human Rights Film Festival in Seoul, South Korea
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Margaret Mead Film Festival
ZagrebDox (Croatia) International Documentary Film Festival
One World (Prague) International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival
Thessaloniki (Greece) International Film Festival
San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
Bermuda International Film Festival
It's All True International Documentary Film Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Hong Kong International Film Festival
Calgary Imagine Asian Film Festival
EDOC International Documentary Film Festival, Ecuador
Warsaw Planete Doc Review, Poland
Crakow (Poland) International Film Festival
Jerusalem International Film Festival
New Zealand International Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
Hawaii International Film Festival
CPH:DOX International Documentary Film Festival, Copenhagen
Dallas Video Festival
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Toronto Sprockets Film Festival
Films from the South (Oslo)
Discovery-Scotland's International Film Festival for Children
Filmfest, Hamburg
3-Continental Film Festival (South Africa)
Cork (Ireland) International Film Festival
Nazareth (Israel) International Film Festival
Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival
DocsLisboa (Portugal)
Tempo (Stockholm) Documentary Film Festival
Beirut Docudays (Lebanon)
Napa Sonoma Wine Country Film Festival
Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Green Mountain Film Festival
Amnesty International Film Festival - Vancouver


Asian Studies
Business Practices
Child Labor
Developing World
Fair Trade
Film Studies
Global Issues
Human Rights
International Studies
Labor and Work Issues
Marketing and Advertising
Political Science
Social Justice
Social Psychology
Urban and Regional Planning
Women's Studies