Mexican-American Teenager Forced to Become Family’s Primary Breadwinner in POV’s “Fruits of Labor” – October 4 at 10 pm

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POV and VOCES Present Fruits of Labor

Premieres Monday, October 4, 2021 on PBS

 Powerful Coming-of-Age Story About a Teenaged Farmworker Striving for a Better Life for Herself and her Family


Fruits of Labor, which had its world premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, follows Ashley, a Mexican-American teenager living in a small agricultural town on the central coast of California. A moving coming-of-age story about a determined young woman and an eye-opening look at the seen and unseen forces that trap many families in poverty, Fruits of Labor is a co-presentation of POV and Latino Public Broadcasting’s VOCES. Produced and directed by Emily Cohen Ibañez, the film premieres on Monday, October 4, 2021 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, and the PBS Video app.

medium shot of Teenage girl walking in sidewalk

A high school senior, Ashley dreams of graduating and going to college, but when ICE raids in her community threaten to separate her family, she is forced to become their primary breadwinner. While most of her friends are thinking about prom and graduation, Ashley finds herself working days in the strawberry fields and the night shift at a processing plant, with little time left for sleep or studies.

Tracing the tensions between family bonds and the systems that work to sever them, Fruits of Labor follows Ashley as she tries to hold on to her dreams while coping with obligations to her mother, who is undocumented, and three younger siblings. The family lives in a cramped house with 12 other families, and although Ashley’s mother Beatriz works seven days a week as a domestic, it’s not enough to make ends meet. Yet despite their challenges, both Ashley and Beatriz are committed to changing their lives and the lives of others in their community facing the same struggles.

“For me, this project is about valuing labor, nature and women workers across the globe who too often go unnoticed. It is about planting a seed for reflection and revolution,” says filmmaker Cohen Ibañez. “I want people to think about what it means to live a dignified life and to think about the global food chain that too often devalues the essential labor of picking and packaging food. I also want people to fall in love with Ashley and her family and find bits and pieces of identification with what it means to come of age.”

“We’re very proud to present this important film with POV,” says Sandie Viquez Pedlow, Executive Director of Latino Public Broadcasting and Executive Producer of VOCES. “While we may hear about the plight of farmworkers, we are rarely reminded that many of them are teenagers, doing this difficult work while also trying to get an education and a chance at a better future. This film is a valuable testament to these young people who deserve to have their stories heard.”

mother holding teenage daughter
Ashley and Beatriz (mom)

Fruits of Labor does exactly what a documentary should do: it takes an important topic and humanizes it in a way that forces you to react,” said Erika Dilday, Executive Director of American Documentary and Executive Producer of POV. “Cohen Ibañez elevates Ashley and the many young people just like her who are often ignored or overlooked when we speak in broad terms about naturalization, immigrant labor and the fight to survive. We are honored to be a partner in sharing this story.”

Fruits of Labor is a co-presentation of POV and VOCES. A co-production of Reversa Films, POV, and Latino Public Broadcasting, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Fruits of Labor will be available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.