They say everything is bigger in Texas, and construction is no exception: a $72 billion industry that accounts for every $20 generated by the Texas economy, employing nearly one million workers. Although deemed the “Texas Miracle,” with a recession-proof economic plan that many U.S. states look to duplicate, a treacherous dark side looms over the industry. BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM uncovers the story of the virtually invisible undocumented construction workers upon whose backs and hard labor the boom is built. We follow the intimate journey of immigrants Javier, Eva and Dagoberto – struggling to survive while also striving to organize through a unique organization called Workers Defense Project. Leading the fight is co-founder Cristina Tzintzún, an unexpected young female voice in the movement. As workers courageously attempt to fight for rest breaks and stolen incomes, they face an uncertain future as immigration reform is halted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM is a timely story of economic boom in a climate of anti-immigration rhetoric. This film puts a face to the builders of our schools, our homes, our work and our communities. As our main character’s face rising costs of living, pay stagnation and employers intent on making huge profits at their expense – with little regard for their safety, health or security – we wonder if they’ll ever achieve the American Dream. Can they carve out a stable world? And will the improvements they seek for construction workers begin to take root?
About the Director
Chelsea Hernandez– Chelsea is a native Texan and Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. She is a 6-time Lone Star Emmy winning director, producer and editor. Chelsea started her career in media at the ripe age of nine, hosting and co-producing a children’s educational TV program with her mother for eight years. With bigger goals in mind, Chelsea moved to New York City to study film at Adelphi University and Brooklyn College. She gained internships at Steeplechase Films, home of documentary filmmaker Ric Burns, and Jon Alpert’s Downtown Community Television where she was later employed as rentals associate. Chelsea found her way back to Austin to eventually receive a BS in Radio-Television-Film, the first in her family to achieve a college degree.