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The Price of Sugar

Bill Haney

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Five large landowners dominate the sugarcane industry of the Dominican Republic. The island, known among tourists as a beach paradise, constitutes an assembly point of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens from neighbouring Haiti. Often lured with false promises, they lose all their civil rights the moment they set foot in the Dominican Republic. Barefoot and desperate, they chop sugarcane in the inlands day after day - the result is a modern form of slavery. Packed together in huts without running water or medical facilities, men and women alike are exploited under armed surveillance. A Spanish priest named Christopher Hartley has devoted himself to the neglected workers' well-being for decades. He sees to it that American doctors pay them visits, welcomes the poor inhabitants into his church, and organises a strike that improves their situation to some extent. Dominican leaders use their money to turn the population against him, but Father Hartley perseveres. The Price of Sugar follows the courageous priest over an extended period of time and presents an unadorned portrait of an idealist who manages to convert words into deeds. Paul Newman narration lends Hartley's story a factual context, evoking questions about the moral responsibility of the buyers of the sugar, including the United States. (IDFA)


United States 2007, 90 min.


Spoken language: English, Spanish, Haitian Creole

Subtitles: English

Official website:


Uncommon Productions

World sales:

Louise Rosen Ltd.

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Human rights
human trafficking
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