By Joanna BOWERS


Documentary - Post-Production 2017

“The Helper” chronicles the diverse stories from 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.

    • Year of production
    • 2017
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 94 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Joanna BOWERS
    • Writer(s)
    • Joanna BOWERS
    • Producer(s)
    • Tony a. VERB (Co Productions), Nicole PACHECO CHAMBERLIN (Poke The Bear)
    • Synopsis
    • “The Helper” explores just a few of the stories of the more than 300,000 migrant domestic workers population in Hong Kong hi-lightiing the pressures and struggles they face in order to provide a better future for their families back home. The film showcases three main storylines;

      The Unsung Heroes, a choir of 50 Filipinas prepares to perform the anthemic "I Wish I Could Kiss You Goodnight" on stage before an audience of thousands at the Clockenflap music festival. As we get to know choir members and understand the significance of this performance, we see them struggle to balance the pressures of family in their distant homelands with the time-constraints of rehearsing on their one day off per week. Will they be ready to take the spotlight and perform with professionals in time? And can they balance their hopes and dreams with the reality of the maternal sacrifices they have made?

      Long-time domestic-helper/avid climber Liza's story travels from Hong Kong’s peaks to the top of the world in Nepal as she trains to return to the Himalayas for her second attempt at summiting Island Peak, near Mount Everest. Her infectious spirit and determination has overcome many setbacks and disadvantages and enabled her to traverse the many constraints of her position, but is her indefatigable spirit enough to get her to the top this time?

      Finally, we explore the challenges faced by Indonesian former helper Nurul, a new mother, ensnared within the Hong Kong legal and immigration system with only local NGO's helping her to stay afloat. Her story presents the stark reality of life for those who fall through the net of convention and hi-lights the injustices and often inhumane treatment this population face within society. Will she win her legal battle despite the odds being stacked against her and how can she provide a future for her daughter ?

      Our overarching message in this film however is a positive one, giving a human face to an often-critiqued community, highlighting their tenacity and countering negativity with uplifting stories of achievement. These are real people with real stories; not just domestic helpers. They are women, wives and mothers, confronting the perceived negativity and their own doubts to achieve the extraordinary