After I Pick the Fruit is an accomplished, socially aware documentary examining the lives and plight of immigrant farm workers over a ten-year period. I’ve been lucky enough to call the director, Nancy Ghertner, a close friend for many years now, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a shameless plug. After I Pick the Fruit is compassionate, investigative filmmaking. Much of its success is derived from the director’s close rapport with the women at the center of the narrative. Not unlike the recent A Place at the Table, AIP strives to throw a much-needed light on a subject clearly dear to the filmmaker’s heart.
This isn’t a weepy film, nor is it finger-pointing. Nancy takes the route of documenting, only occasionally placing herself visually or aurally in the movie. The aforementioned time span is impressive, and it’s very clear that the women in western NY have come to trust Nancy as she follows them with her camera, occasionally asking questions, and capturing some truly heartbreaking and inspiring moments.
The task of structuring such a huge amount of footage, and of shoe-horning five lives into 93 minutes is immense, but Nancy effortlessly keeps all parties accounted for, constructing a story that is at once compelling and instructive. One of my favorite parts of AIP features Vierge’s – a Haitian woman – children. Nancy does well to let her camera linger on them, capturing their joy juxtaposed with Vierge’s independence, determination, and exhaustion. It’s one of the finer parts of the documentary, showing perhaps a (desired?) generation gap and blissful ignorance.
Here is the plug. But it’s worth it. You can see the trailer and buy the DVD for AIP here:
You should know this: Profits above the cost of the DVD will be directed to the Las Mujeres Divinas education fund, for farmworker women and their children.
Nancy’s Creative Team included many of her former students and advisees from RIT’s SOFA. They deserve some credit in here as well!
-DVD Design concept – Elizabeth Phillips and Lauren Damon, both former students of Nancy at RIT
-DVD interactive design, encoding and Master DVD creation – Crystal Pix, Rochester, NY with Nancy’s former student, Craig Mullen main player at Crystal Pix.
-DVD label – Andrew Staples, Nancy’s former advisee
-DVD cover design and layout – Nicholas Gottlund of Gottlund Verlag, Nancy’s nephew
-DVD duplication and packaging – JM Associates, Little Rock, Arkansas
-Website update for DVD Sales: Raeanne Wright, who also created the film’s original website
-Subtitles: Daniel Krupka, Spanish language (for spoken English), Robin Ghertner, English language (for spoken Spanish)
-DVD Extras music mixdown (4 Videos) – Dave Sluberski at West Rush Productions
-DVD Extra – ‘Interview with Director, Nancy’ – filmed and edited by Tisa Zito