The Philippine Consulate General and a British filmmaker who directed a crowd-funded feature-length documentary focusing on Hong Kong’s migrant domestic workers agreed on 16 July 2018 to explore ways to give the film wider reach among policymakers, current and future employers and the Filipino public.
Consul General Antonio A. Morales agreed with director and producer Joanna Bowers that The Helper, which had a sold-out 11-week run in Hong Kong cinemas in 2017, would find new audiences among some 220,000 Filipinos living in Hong Kong, government officials, the consular corps and the movie-going public in the Philippines and elsewhere.
“We wanted to shine a spotlight on an invisible sector of Hong Kong society,” said Bowers, who was trained in London, worked in Dubai and Los Angeles before settling in Hong Kong in 2011. “These women have made the impossible decision to migrate for work and leave their families behind. They deserve their strength and sacrifice to be acknowledged and respected.”
“The Helper” chronicles diverse stories from Hong Kong’s migrant domestic worker population, showing the immense contribution these women – who leave their homeland for a fair shot at providing their families a better future – make to Hong Kong society and uncovering the inspiring combination of grit, pride and determination that drives them.
The 106-minute film features The Unsung Heroes, a 50-member choir of Filipino domestic workers and their challenging journey to perform on stage at Hong Kong’s popular Clockenflap music festival, Liza Avelino, a domestic helper who climbs mountains in her spare time, and Nurul Hidayah a single mother with a harrowing story of survival.
Bowers also said “The Helper” film has been made available on videos on demand (VOD) aboard Cathay Pacific flights and for pre-ordering on iTunes, and will be released for purchase on DVD and BluRay, and VOD and iVOD distribution platforms internationally starting on July 24th 2018.
Bowers, who raised HK$700,000 for the film in 30 days on a Kickstarter campaign, premiered the film in May 2017 at the Asia Society Hong Kong with the support of the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau and investment bank Goldman Sachs. She is also seeking distributors for the film in the Philippines and Indonesia.