AIHce showed a movie matinee on Tuesday. The documentary, “Complicit,” takes the audience to the worldʼs electronics factory floors, revealing the situations under which Chinaʼs youth population has shifted by the millions in search of a better life. The documentary focuses on exposures to benzene and n-hexane and the workers and activists putting pressure on the major companies and brands to prevent the exposures that changed their lives. Co-director and producer Heather White was on hand to answer questions after the viewing.
The powerful movie was created to persuade technology companies to end their use of life threatening chemicals in production, said White. “Complicit” was filmed over three years in China’s electronics zones Shenzhen and Guangzhou. The movie follows Yi YeTing, a migrant worker struggling with occupational leukemia who is trying to get compensation from his employer for his illness.
Wanting to help others, he begins working for a non-profit that assists workers with occupational illness and injuries. He discovers there are dozens of workers in his local area who were poisoned while making smartphones, constituting a leukemia cluster in the neighborhood. The movie follows several workers and their families who are trying to survive while burdened with unaffordable health care costs.
“We discovered that the “disposable workforce” — workers discarded after becoming ill or maimed — is reaching epidemic proportions, afflicting over one million workers annually in China,” White said.
The filmmakers wanted to let the world know what’s happening in factories thousands of miles away. “Complicit” is a way to sound an alarm and hopefully bring about change, White said.