Still from Migrant Dreams

Migrant Dreams

by Min Sook Lee
Product Availability
Institutional, Home-Use, Community Screenings, Theatrical, Educational, Festivals, VOD
About the Film

MIGRANT DREAMS tells the undertold story of migrant agricultural workers struggling against Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) that treats foreign workers as modern-day indentured labourers and ties low-wage migrants to one employer. Min Sook Li’s incisive film exposes the underbelly of the Canadian government labour program that has built a system designed to empower brokers and growers to exploit, dehumanize and deceive migrant workers who have virtually no access to support or information in their own languageWorkers willing to pay exorbitant fees to work at minimum wage jobs packing the fruits and vegetables we eat in our homes. Canada it seems, has failed them.

Activist Cathy sets up secretive meetings with Evelyn, a member of Justice for Migrant Workers. They are the lifeline for a group of Indonesian migrant agricultural workers who find themselves trapped in a web of lies, and coerced by threats of deportation from agents and greenhouse owners. The workers, most of whom are women, have been recruited to work in Canada packing vegetables inside greenhouse operations, by agents who illegally charge upwards to seven thousand dollars in agency fees. Unable to afford the levy, migrants use their Canadian wages to pay back their debt to the agents.

The workers’ dreams are pinned to the hope that their two-year contracts will be renewed for another two years. Only ‘good behavior’ will secure a contract renewal. Speaking out is the last thing they can afford to do. But by the time we meet the group, comprised mostly of women, speaking out and resisting is the only thing left to do.

Distribution Availability: Canada (Theatrical, Institutional/Educational); Worldwide (Non-Theatrical, Community Screenings, Broadcast, Internet Rights)

2016  ·  1h28m  ·  Canada
English, Espanol, Indonesian
English, French subs
Festivals and Awards
Brazilian International Labour Film Festival / Mostra Cine Trabalho at Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), Winner, Luis Espinal Prize
7th annual Canadian Hillman Prize for Journalism, Winner
Movies that Matter, Official Selection
Windsor International Film Festival, Official Selection
Devour! The Food Film Festival, Official Selection
Antigonish Film Festival, Official Selection
One World Film Festival, Official Selection
CNEX Documentary Film Festival, Official Selection
Fort McMurray International Film Festival, Official Selection
Gimli Film Festival, Official Selection
CWA Canada / CAJ Award For Labour Reporting, Winner
Northwest Fest, Official Selection
DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver, Official Selection
Hot Docs International Film Festival, Toronto, Top Ten Audience Favourite | World Premiere
January 27, 2023
Contemporary Calgary (Calgary, AB)
February 19, 2020
Char's Landing (Port Alberni, BC)
November 26, 2019
Cinevolution's DocuAsia 2019 (Vancouver, BC)
September 19, 2019
CUPE Healthcare Workers (Ottowa, ON)
August 21, 2019
Reversing Hall (Pembroke, ME)
May 8, 2019
Brantford and District Labour Council, Simcoe Public Library (Simcoe, ON)
March 23, 2019
CUPE Ontario Social Services Chair (Toronto, ON)
March 20, 2019
Eastminster United Church (Toronto, ON)
Dec 1, 2018
OPSEU, Mountbatten Salon (Toronto, ON)
July 28, 2018
Harbourfront Centre Festival (Toronto, ON)
June 28, 2018
Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group (KPIRG) (Surrey, BC)
April 30, 2018
Mayworks Ottawa, Arts Court Theatre (Ottawa, ON)
April 10, 2018
La cinémathèque québécoise (Montreal, QC)
March 12, 2018
Resistance and Revolution Film Series (Salmon Arm, BC)
March 9, 2018
Solidarity Kingston, Queen's University (Kingston, ON)
March 2, 2018
Belleville Downtown Docfest (Belleville, ON)
January 17, 2018
The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (Niagara Falls, ON)
November 28, 2017
Cinema Politica London (London, ON)
November 22, 2017
Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (Toronto, ON)
November 17, 2017
Universidad Autonoma Chapingo (Texcoco, Mexico)
November 16, 2017
International Migration Research Centre (Waterloo, ON)
November 15, 2017
Champlain Regional College / Bishop's University (Sherbrooke, QC)
November 10, 2017
Deconstructing Dinner Film Fest, Expressions Theatre Cafe (Nelson, BC)
November 2, 2017
Meal Exchange's The Real Food Challenge at the University of Windsor (Windsor, ON)
October 30, 2017
Spiritual Services at the University of Sudbury (Sudbury, ON)
October 21, 2017
Sarnia Justice Film Festival (Sarnia, ON)
October 21, 2017
PSAC Okanagan Human Rights Committee (Kelowna, BC)
October 21, 2017
Documentaqro 2017, Museo de la Ciudad (Querétaro, Mexico)
September 26, 2017
Cinema Politica St. John's (St. John's, NL)
September 21, 2017
Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute (Vancouver, BC)
July 23, 2017
38th Durban International Film Festival (Durban, South Africa)
July 13, 2017
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival (Melbourne, Australia)
June 09, 2017
University of Manchester (Manchester, UK)
June 03, 2017
Carrefour jeunesse-emploi des Moulins (Terrebonne, QC)
June 02, 2017
Le Fou Aeliés, Université Laval, Pavillion Desjardins-Pollack (Québec, QC)
June 01, 2017
UQAC auditorium (Chicoutimi, QC)
June 01, 2017
Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies, Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)
May 31, 2017
Petit auditorium du Cégep de Victoriaville (Victoriaville, QC)
May 26, 2017
World OutGames Miami Global Conference on Human Rights, presented by CUPE (Miami Beach, FL)
May 17, 2017
Brazilian International Labour Film Festival (São Paulo, Brazil)
May 12, 2017
Cinema Politica Danforth (Toronto, Ontario)
May 10, 2017
Workers Unite! Film Festival (New York, New York)
May 7, 2017
Harlem International Film Festival (Harlem, New York City, New York )
April 28, 2017
Cinema Politica Fredericton, Part of 2017 Mayworks Fredericton Festival (Fredericton, NB)
April 21, 2017
A Mini-Conference on Migrant Vulnerability (Montreal, QC)
March 27, 2017
Cinema Politica Medicine Hat (Medicine Hat, AB)
March 26, 2017
Unitarian Church of Montreal (Montreal, QC)
March 15, 2017
The MUFF society, Imagine Cinemas Carlton (Toronto, ON)
March 10, 2017
Bandwidth Theatre (Winnipeg, MA)
March 7, 2017
University of Windsor (Windsor, ON)
March 6, 2017
The Society of Energy Professionals (Toronto, ON)
March 2, 2017
World Community Film Festival (Kelowna, BC)
March 2, 2017
University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)
February 24, 2017
UBC Okanagan's campus, Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts (Kelowna, BC)
February 18, 2017
Nanaimo Global Film Festival, Vancouver Island University (VIU) (Nanaimo, BC)
February 17, 2017
KDocs: Kwantlen Documentary Film Festival, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Vancouver, BC)
February 16, 2017
Cinema Politica Ridge Meadows (Maple Ridge, BC)
February 9, 2017
Cinema Politica Radical Reels Guelph (Guelph, ON)
February 4, 2017
World Community Film Festival (Courtenay, BC)
January 30, 2017
Trent University, School for the Study of Canada (Peterborough, ON)
January 24, 2017
Cinema Politica Halifax, The Loaded Ladle and NSPIRG (Halifax, NS)
January 23, 2017
Council of Canadians Quinte (Wellington, ON)
January 18, 2017
Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB)
January 10, 2017
University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)
January 03, 2017
University of Lethbridge (Lethbridge, AB)
January 2017
Migrante Alberta (Calgary, AB)
November 30, 2016
Movies That Matter - University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)
November 30, 2016
Hamilton Community Food Centre (Hamilton, ON)
November 29, 2016
Alberta Labour History Institute (Edmonton, AB)
November 26, 2016
National Farmers Union National Convention 2016 (Saskatoon, SK)
November 22, 2016
King's University College, Social Justice and Peace Studies (London, ON)
November 10, 2016
The Best of Hot Docs Sudbury (Sudbury, ON)
November 4, 2016
Devour! The Food Film Festival (Wolfville, NS)
November 2, 2016
Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ottawa, ON)
November 2016
Geoffrey R. Weller Library, (Prince George, BC)
October 31, 2016
University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)
October 27, 2016
Horizons of Friendship (Cobourg, ON)
October 24, 2016
Ontario College of Art & Design (Toronto, ON)
October 24, 2016
O'Leary United Church (O’Leary, PEI)
October 23, 2016
Shediac Bay Community Church (Shediac, NB)
October 22, 2016
Antigonish Film Festival (Antigonish, NS)
October 21, 2016
Conserver House (Fredericton, NB)
October 20, 2016
Murphy's Community Centre (Charlottetown, PEI)
October 19, 2016
University of Toronto Scarborough Library (Scarborough, ON)
October 18, 2016
York University (Toronto, ON)
October 17, 2016
Concordia University (Montreal, QC)
October 14, 2016
Workers Arts & Heritage Centre (Hamilton, ON)
October 13, 2016
Carleton University (Ottawa, ON)
October 6, 2016
Carleton University, Mobility and Politics Conference (Ottawa, ON)
October 5, 2016
Simon Fraser University, Harbour Center (Burnaby, BC)
October 1, 2016
University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)
October 1, 2016
Greater Sudbury Public Library (Main Branch) (Sudbury, ON)
October 1, 2016
One World Film Festival, Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa, ON)
September 28, 2016
The Screening Room (Kingston, ON)
September 25 & 27, 2016
CNEX Documentary Film Festival (Taipei, Taiwan)
September 27, 2016
York University (Toronto,ON)
September 26, 2016
Trent University Durham (Oshawa, ON)
September 25, 2016
Black Creek Community Farm (Toronto, ON)
September 25, 2016
Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)
September 21, 2016
Brock University (St. Catherines, ON)
September 20, 2016
McMaster University (Hamilton, ON)
September 17, 2016
University of Guelph (Guelph, ON)
September 15, 2016
Langford School House (Lynden, ON)
September 10, 2016
Bread and Roses Bookstore (London, ON)
September 7, 2016
UNIFOR Local 127 (Chatham, ON)
September 4, 2016
Kingsville Complex (Leamington, ON)
September 3, 2016
Keyano Recital Theatre (Fort McMurray, AB)
July 24, 2016
GIMLI Film Festival (Gimli, MB)
May 11, 2016
Northwest Fest (Edmonton, AB)
May 7, 2016
DOXA Documentary Film Festival (Vancouver, BC)
May 1, 3 & 8 2016
World Premiere, Hot Docs International Film Festival (Toronto, ON)
Iris Ng and Min Sook Lee
Sound Design and Mix
Daniel Pellerin
Lisa Valencia-Svensson and Min Sook Lee
Online Editor
Andrew Mandziuk
Soundtrack Composer
Ken Myhr
Min Sook Lee
About the Director

Min Sook Lee

Min Sook Lee is an award winning filmmaker. She is the co-creator of the hit comedy series ‘SHE’S THE MAYOR’ which premiered on Vision TV in 2011. She has produced and directed numerous critically acclaimed documentaries, including: The Real MASH – the true story of the people that inspired the fiction TV series, MY TOXIC BABY – one mother’s journey into the world of toxins in baby products, TIGER SPIRIT – a reunification story shot in North and South Korea (Donald Brittain Gemini Award for Best Social/Political Documentary), HOGTOWN (Best Feature-length Canadian Documentary award at Hot Docs Festival); BADGE OF PRIDE – the story of gay cops in Toronto – and EL CONTRATO – a look at the lives of migrant farm workers in Canada (nominated for the Donald Brittain Gemini ).

Min Sook was also presented with the Cesar E. Chavez Black Eagle Award for EL CONTRATO’S impact on the rights of migrant workers. Min Sook’s films have been broadcast nationally on CBC, Global, TVO and History Television. Her films have traveled to festivals across North America, Europe and Asia. Min Sook has served as a judge and guest speaker for various film organizations including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hot Docs Don Haig Award, the Imaginative Film Festival, Reel Asian Film Festival , the Reel World Film Festival and the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto.

Other films by Min Sook Lee