“We wanted to make something very different, something positive. Instead of focusing on abuse or negative aspects of their lives – which do exist – we decided to focus on strength and inspiration,” Bowers tells me.
As a matter of fact, while there is a growing abundance of work around the issue of domestic workers in Hong Kong, not many focus on motherhood or on personal empowerment. By telling the stories of the migrant workers, “we tried to show how they positively impacted society, allowing many local women to enter the workforce but most of all, we tried to make a film that could resonate with audiences globally,” Bowers says.
La réalisatrice britannique Joanna Bowers dresse le portrait de femmes, souvent philippines ou indonésiennes, qui sacrifient leur vie personnelle pour venir travailler à Hongkong et envoyer de l’argent à leur famille restée au pays.
“Two-thirds of Hong Kong’s domestic helpers are also mothers. Most of the time, they are forced to leave their young children at home so that they can work abroad and give their children better futures,” Joanna Bowers, writer and director of The Helper, told Asia Times.
Hong Kong News: A million thanks to ‘The Helper’, the unsung hero
A new feature-length documentary titled “The Helper” by British filmmaker Joanna Bowers is currently screening in Hong Kong cinemas. It chronicles compelling stories, both wonderful and heart-breaking, of Hong Kong’s female migrant workers mostly coming from the Philippines and Indonesia.
The charity screening of The Helper at The Projector raised about S$6,000 for migrant workers’ advocacy group, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).
The Straits Times: Film spotlights HK’s Unsung Heroes – domestic helpers
The theme of maternal sacrifice runs through the documentary titled The Helper – many domestic helpers are mothers working their way out of poverty, looking after other people’s children to improve the lives of their own kids.
Daily Mail Online: Hong Kong Migrant Mothers Sing For Their Distant Children
“These women are considered second-class citizens and often treated in a very unimportant disposable way,” says Bowers. “We wanted to see if we could elevate their status.”
Style consultant Sheryl Bolden appealed for donation of dresses so the domestic helpers who appear in documentary The Helper looked the part on red carpet at film’s premiere
The film chronicles the diverse stories of five of Hong Kong’s migrant domestic workers. It shows the reality of their daily lives and explores the contribution they make to the working families in Hong Kong whilst they deal with separation from their loved ones.
Joanna Bowers is a woman on a mission. As a producer, filmmaker and mama she has always been passionate about telling stories while communicating larger issues. Inspired by her own helper’s story – and domestic helpers in Hong Kong – she set off to create an eye-opening (and hopefully “heart-opening”) documentary about these women’s lives.
South China Morning Post: The Helper is on the way: Hong Kong film about migrant workers gets closer to completion
“In just 30 days the team raised US$89,000 and even more donations came in after the campaign ended…The fact that we raised a significant amount of money and in a short time goes to show what an important issue it is in Hong Kong”
“I want to show the public that these people aren’t just household appliances,” said British filmmaker Bowers.
Time Out: Make The Helper Happen
“If you only watch one video today…make it this one”
“These filmmakers are incredibly passionate and socially minded”