Still from The Take
Still from The Take

On Demand

The Take

by Avi Lewis
In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave.
2004  ·  1h27m  ·  Canada
English, French, Spanish
English, French subs
About the Film
“…a story of every-day heroism, that also offers a model for productive change by repositioning the people as the power-brokers…” – THE VANCOUVER SUN “Lewis and Klein have done something extraordinary…The workers in THE TAKE are so admirable, displaying a melancholy eloquence and a genuine revolutionary spirit.” – THE NEW YORKER THE TAKE opens in suburban Buenos Aires, where thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act – The Take – has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head. A film which is almost guaranteed to make you alternately cry and laugh and most of all leave the screening with an overwhelming desire to change the world, The Take is a powerful manifesto to the power of ordinary people to come together and achieve extraordinary things. In the wake of Argentina’s dramatic economic collapse in 2001, Latin America’s most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The Forja auto plant lies dormant until its former employees take action. They’re part of a daring new movement of workers who are occupying bankrupt businesses and creating jobs in the ruins of the failed system. But Freddy, the president of the new worker’s co-operative, and Lalo, the political powerhouse from the Movement of Recovered Companies, know that their success is far from secure. Like every workplace occupation, they have to run the gauntlet of courts, cops and politicians who can either give their project legal protection or violently evict them from the factory. The story of the workers’ struggle is set against the dramatic backdrop of a crucial presidential election in Argentina, in which the architect of the economic collapse, Carlos Menem, is the front-runner. His cronies, the former owners, are circling: if he wins, they’ll take back the companies that the movement has worked so hard to revive. Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a whole system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale. With THE TAKE, director Avi Lewis, one of Canada’s most outspoken journalists, and writer Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller No Logo, champion a radical economic manifesto for the 21st century. But what shines through in the film is the simple drama of workers’ lives and their struggle: the demand for dignity and the searing injustice of dignity denied.
Upcoming Screenings

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Festivals and Awards
International Documentary Association, Nominated, Feature Documentary
AFI Fest, Winner, Documentary Award
Gemini Awards, Nominated, Donald Brittain Award
Gemini Awards, Nominated, Best Direction in a Documentary Program
Gemini Awards, Nominated, Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series
Gemini Awards, Nominated, Best Sound in an Information/Documentary Program or Series
Mark Ellam
Naomi Klein, Laszlo Barna, Silva Basmajian, Avi Lewis and Katie McKenna
Soundtrack Composer
David Wall
Naomi Klein
About the Director

Avi Lewis

Avi Lewis

Avi Lewis is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and television journalist.
His first feature length film, The Take (2004), follows Argentina’s new movement of worker-run businesses.  An emotional story of hope and resistance in the global economy, it was released theatrically in Canada, the U.S., and across Europe, premiering at the Venice Film Festival.  The New York Times called it “a stirring, idealistic documentary”, its CBC telecast was nominated for 4 Gemini Awards, and it won the International Jury prize at the American Film Institute festival in Los Angeles.
In 2009 and 2010, Avi Lewis was the host of Al Jazeera English Television’s Fault Lines – a biweekly show that got under the surface of US politics with half hour documentaries, town hall discussions, and long format interviews. In 2008, he was the host of Al Jazeera’s Inside USA, a weekly series examining the real issues at stake in the US presidential election.
His previous television shows – On The Map with Avi Lewis, a daily half-hour of opinionated international news analysis and The Big Picture with Avi Lewis, combining hard-hitting documentaries and town hall debates – aired on CBC Newsworld, in 2006 and 2007.
In the late 90s, as the host and producer of counterSpin on CBC Newsworld, Lewis presided over more than 500 nationally televised debates in three years.  In the early 1990s, he hosted City TV’s landmark music journalism show “The New Music.” At the same time, he was MuchMusic’s Political Specialist, pioneering political “uncoverage” for a youth audience.
Currently he is directing a feature documentary called The Message: the (r)evolutionary power of climate change.

Other films by Avi Lewis