Pro Tools
•Register a festival or a film
Submit film to festivals Promote for free or with Promo Packages

FILMFESTIVALS | 24/7 world wide coverage

Welcome !

Enjoy the best of both worlds: Film & Festival News, exploring the best of the film festivals community.  

Launched in 1995, relentlessly connecting films to festivals, documenting and promoting festivals worldwide.

A brand new website will soon be available. Covid-19 is not helping, stay safe meanwhile.

For collaboration, editorial contributions, or publicity, please send us an email here

User login


RSS Feeds 

Martin Scorsese Masterclass in Cannes services and offers


Claus Mueller

Claus Mueller is  Senior New York Correspondent

He is based in New York where he covers the festival scene, professor at Hunter University, accredited member of the Foreign Press Center,  U.S. Department of State NY.


Invisible Hands, Documentary, 2018


In a period when politicians openly disregard the truth and the rise of embrace authoritarian rule around the globe constraining public opinion,  important documentaries can have a difficult time overcoming the informational noise and finding their most essential audience while competing with other documentaries’ that cover equally disturbing problems.  INVISIBLE HANDS, a USA production by Shraysi Tandon belongs to the relatively small group of must see 2018 films. It is a fact based investigation and exposure of the broad use of child labor in global capitalism to maximize earnings. Globalization has resulted in the expansion of multinational corporations into virtually all countries, with the concentration of their activities in oligopolies dominating global markets in essential sectors such as electronics, food, clothing, cosmetics, tobacco, and many other consumer products.  Corporate activities are driven by the objective of maximizing profits for the shareholders through the management and reduction of costs as much as possible.  At the same time, research driven by empirical data has revealed the essential that role child labor, slavery, and trafficking play in maintaining and enlarging profits.  Consumers in advanced countries are the beneficiaries of products made with child labor. The exploitation of children and young people is significantly widespread in developing countries, but also takes place in advanced economies like the United States. Child labor is facilitated by the absence of protective regulation as well as failures in enforcement where such regulations exist. There a pervasive disregard of the human rights of children and young people by corporations and governments,  and a refusal of large corporations to intervene even if they know that their subsidiaries or contractors have children working for them. They knowingly ignore that child labor is detrimental to the health of children and prevents them from getting an education. Child laborers are kept on the lowest rungs of society, their future potential disregarded, frequently with a situationally enforced or tacit approval of their care givers. Though the massive exploitation of children is well known and documented, INVISIBLE HANDS shows clearly the need for action because little progress in combatting the problem has been made. 

Globally, more than 200 million children are involved in child labor in mostly unregulated industries, working low wage jobs in from as young as 6 years old. In India, an estimated 30 million children under the age of 14 are working, often the victims of trafficking, in a carpet industry that has sales of about $3 billion annually in the United States. Indonesian child workers are employed mostly in in the palm oil and tobacco industries, accompanying their parents to help them to meet daily work quotas and avoid the wage docking that would result from falling short of quotas.  These working children in India and Indonesia have no access to health coverage or schooling.  Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Nestle are among the large corporations that use processed palm oil in a wide range of products.  Where they exist, child labor laws are often not enforced. Little to no attention paid to the debilitating effects of exposure to pesticides in the palm oil and tobacco industries. The same holds for the Democratic Republic of Congo where two thirds of the world’s cobalt is mined.  Children as young as 4 years old are virtually enslaved in the cobalt mineral mining industry, digging and processing the mineral.  Large corporations in Asia, Europe, and North America depend on a steady supply of Cobalt for the manufacture of electronic devices and know that their contractors and subcontractors in the Congo are exploiting children. These electronics corporations refuse to act as any effective intervention would disrupt their supply chain.  Exposure of their product’s reliance on child labor is avoided through public relations efforts and political interventions. One of the most revealing examples is the growing failure of federal and local agencies in the United States in preventing children from working on the tobacco farms.  The neuro toxic impact of exposure to tobacco plants, and the impact of herbicides and pesticides on brain development have been well documented by scientific research.  These children, as young as 12, suffer developmental brain damage from working with tobacco plants. There are no regulations on child labor in family farming. In particular, the pesticide chlorpyrifos, banned on three continents, has been singled out.  chlorpyrifos is produced and sold in the United States by Dow Chemicals and its affiliates.  Comparing  the nicotine level (cotinine) in the blood of farm workers, including children in tobacco fields , to cigarette smokers who are otherwise not exposed to tobacco  revealed that the nicotine level was 2 ½ times higher among tobacco farm workers. Former president Obama tried to ban the use of pesticides, including chlorpyrfos, because of their brain damaging effects, but Donald Trump had it and other pesticides removed from the EPA s banned list in February 2017. Trump signed his order whilst sitting next to Andrew Liver, the CEO of Dow Chemical who had just contributed $1 million to Trump’s inauguration.  The child laborers of the cocoa farming fields of Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire face similarly bleak lives. These cocoa farms produce 60% of the world’s annual cocoa harvest. Whereas 25 years ago, 20% of the income went to the farmers, their share of the profits is now a measly 6% of the billions of dollars paid to governments by corporations annually. The constant pressure to reduce costs has led to an increase in farmer’s reliance on child labor. This has led to greater child trafficking from neighboring countries and little to no payments to children who are contractually bonded.  Pressures by Congressman Eliot Engel and Senator Tom Harkin resulted in a 2001 agreement with the major US manufacturers using Cocoa agreeing to curtail child abuse in West Africa with deadlines for action. Despite this effort, no action has been taken in the ensuing years, and the implementation of the agreement has been continually postponed.  China is among the major countries that employ child labor.  In the late 1990s the Chinese Government implemented a compulsory student internship program with work carried out in the manufacturing facilities of global corporations during the summer. Students who are 15-16 years old are recruited from vocational schools, paid very little, and cannot graduate from their schools if they refuse to participate in the program

The situation is grim, and INVISIBEL HANDS provides little evidence that there has been any notable change. Only two large corporations were identified as having taken action. BMW stopped purchasing Mica, an essential crystalline mineral needed for car paint from its Indian producers that employed child labor.  Apple, which has presented a progressive stance in other labor sectors, now checks hundreds of supply chains, and forces contractors found to be using child labor to send the children home and provide fully transparent reports.  A possibly effective response to the problem of child labor could be grass root level actions by consumers. Shraysi jandon considers it a viable strategy and shows some examples of products that are clearly identified as having been produced without child labor. More than a dozen years ago I suggested the use of similar labels for chocolate products to Congressman Engel’s staff. Despite their optimism that such labels would soon be in use, it never happened.  Even if consumers embrace this idea, it is doubtful that many major corporations would go such an effort as it could increase production cost, and their primary focus continues to be profit above all other considerations.


Claus Mueller



About Claus Mueller