The Helper Premiere Announcement


Documentary To Be Screened at Mother’s Day 2017 Event Presented by The European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao and Goldman Sachs

HONG KONG, 29 April 2017 – What started nearly two years ago with a Kickstarter campaign, will premiere at The Asia Society Hong Kong Center on 14 May 2017 as The Helper makes its debut in Hong Kong.

The feature-length documentary chronicles the diverse stories of Hong Kong’s migrant domestic workers, exploring the immense contribution they make to society in the face of heart-breaking separation from their loved ones.

“When better than Mother’s Day to pay tribute to those who make such extraordinary maternal sacrifices of their own to support Hong Kong’s families,” said the Director of the film, Joanna Bowers. “These are real people with real stories; not just domestic helpers. They are women, wives and mothers, overcoming obstacles to achieve the extraordinary.”

Mountain-climber and domestic helper Liza Avelino, who is profiled in the film said:

“When domestic helpers are in the spotlight, it’s often as part of a negative narrative. I am hoping this film will help to change how we are seen by the people of Hong Kong and beyond.”

The film will debut during a red-carpet charity fundraising event, with proceeds benefiting local non-profit organizations. Among them are Pathfinders, which ensures that the most vulnerable children born in Hong Kong and their migrant mothers are respected and protected, and Enrich, which promotes economic empowerment of migrant domestic workers. Both organizations also are featured in the documentary. A portion of the proceeds also will be donated to FilmAid Asia, which is supporting the premiere event.

Prominent Leaders Step Up As Premiere Sponsors

While production of The Helper Documentary was made possible thanks to individual personal donations during its successful Kickstarter in 2015, its debut event is being presented by the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao and Goldman Sachs.

“We are proud to contribute to changing perception, breaking up of the stereotypes and empowering domestic workers. The EU resolutely opposes all forms of discrimination and calls to respect dignity of all human beings,” said Carmen Cano, Head of the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao.

“We are honoured to support the documentary. Domestic workers are the unsung heroes behind Hong Kong’s success. Their contribution to our homes and families – and to our economy – should not be understated,” said Paul Choi, executive director in Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs.

The premiere event will include a V.I.P. reception sponsored by G.H. Mumm Champagne.

Invitations for the 14-May-2017 event at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center have been released, including to more than 30 domestic helpers and some of their employers who are featured in the film.

“On the first day of filming, I had no idea this was going to be such a huge deal,” said Joy Carbonell, one of the members of the Unsung Heroes choir profiled in the film. “Now we’re going to walk the red carpet and see our story shared with people from around the world – it’s such a wonderful tribute.”

“We are proud to host The Helper. As a leading global educational institution that focuses on Asia, we are committed to enlightening our members and the wider community through thought-provoking programs, and this film will help us appreciate the enormous contribution these workers continue to make in Hong Kong,” said Stanley Kong, Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

Social Impact Campaign To Launch After Premiere

Following the screening, the film’s producers will launch a social media impact campaign with the ambitious objective to raise awareness for domestic workers. The “Thanks A Million” campaign will aim to collect one million simple expressions of “thank you” for domestic workers from around the globe. The effort will continue throughout the year as the film is featured at additional film festival, theatrical and community screenings.

“We set out to change the way in which these hardworking women are perceived, to give them a platform and highlight their very real stories that too often get overlooked,” said Producer, Tony Verb. “But what we also realised along the journey was the importance of stopping for a moment to offer them a simple gesture of gratitude for their contributions to our families and our community. Our social impact campaign is designed to do just that.”

The campaign will launch with the release of a Facebook tribute video on 14 May 2017 asking people to join the campaign by sharing their thanks at

More information about the project can be found at, on Twitter @TheHelperDoc, and on Instagram @the_helper_documentary.

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About Joanna Bowers, Director of The Helper Documentary

Director and screenwriter Joanna Bowers earned her BA in Broadcast Journalism with the BBC from the University of Leeds in England, before relocating to Los Angeles where she began her career working on national television commercials, starting as director’s assistant and treatment writer and progressing to production management. In 2009 Joanna’s debut short-film INVIOLATE ROSE began her directing career, quickly followed by TV pilots RIDING HOODS; ALL RHYME, NO REASON, and LULU GETS A LIFE for Fox Digital. Her co-written screenplay BORN TO NUN has been optioned by Natalie Portman’s Handsome Charlie Films and her co-written feature-film directorial debut TUESDAY GIRL will soon go into production in Hong Kong. Recent directing work includes commercial, fashion and corporate content in the United States, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Hong Kong.

About Tony Verb, Producer of The Helper Documentary

Tony is a serial entrepreneur and producer. Over the past 12 years, he’s ventured into a range of projects in the technology, entertainment, cultural and creative industries all over the world. He most recently launched Mettā in Hong Kong, a new online and offline platform to catalyse innovation and entrepreneurship. He is currently producing a documentary about domestic helpers in Hong Kong: The Helper. He is a proud member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community and contributor of the Shape China 2030 global conference.

About Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.

2 thoughts on “The Helper Premiere Announcement

  1. Jane is an ex-colleague (DBIS), who inspired me to take life by the horns and run with self belief in my heart. I think this is an amazing project and I am desperately looking forward to watching the documentary, although I know it’ll make me cry just like Unsung Heroes does every time I listen!!
    Good luck and thank you to all involved xxxx

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