Directed by: Jamie Sisley and Miguel “M.i.G.” Martinez
Total Runtime: 70 min
Country of Origin: USA / Mexico
Official Selection, Big Sky Film Festival; Official Selection, AFI Docs; Official Selection, Denver Film Festival
“Visually glorious. Imparts majesty to the sacrifices and struggles behind keeping this show on the road.”
(Q&A with filmmakers after screening)
The carnival is an enduring staple of the American experience. However, the need for reliable labor has prompted carnivals and the seafood, timber, hotel, and landscaping industries to look for workers abroad. Today, most carnival workers are Mexican citizens who travel north legally for the carnival season. Shot over the course of six years, Farewell Ferris Wheel explores how the carnival industry fights to keep itself alive by employing Mexican migrant workers through the controversial H-2B guestworker visa. While H-2B labor helps industries to stay afloat, complaints of abuse have caused opponents to view it as a form of slavery. Pairing stunningly beautiful visuals of carnivals with an unflinching look at the realities of the job — low wages, long hours, and a lack of workplace protections — Farewell Ferris Wheel explores the crossroads between economic need and human rights.