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Politicians aren’t usually immigrant grandmothers working full-time service jobs, but Carmen Castillo proves the exceptions when she wins a seat on the city council in Providence, Rhode Island. A Dominican immigrant, Carmen maintains her job cleaning hotel rooms as she takes on her new role in politics.
Castillo must face skeptics who say she doesn’t have the education to govern corporate interests who take a stand against her fight for a city minimum wage of $15/hour, and a tough re-election against two contenders. In her own voice, Carmen Castillo takes the audience behind the scenes of her political campaign, her housekeeping work, and the interactions of her personal life. One moment, she is vacuuming a hotel room, then racing home to put on a suit before heading for city hall. We are with her every step of the way.
A live interview with Carmen Castillo and director Margo Guernsey, moderated by Boise mayor Laura McLean, will follow the film.
Documentary, USA, 57 minutes
About the Filmmaker
Director Margo Guernsey began her film career in 2010 as a producer at WPBT2 in Miami. Councilwoman is her first feature documentary. Since 2012, she has worked freelance as a director and producer of industrial videos in the Boston area. For over 20 years, she has worked as a union organizer, non-profit development director, Spanish/English translator, and media instructor. She holds an MFA in Film from the University of Miami, a MA in History from UMass/Amherst, a BA in History from Brown University, and is a Tribeca/Camden/CNNFilms Retreat Alumni.
About Carmen Castillo
Castillo has been a member of the Providence City Council since 2010. She was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and emigrated with her three daughters to the United States over 20 years ago. After arriving in Rhode Island, she settled in Ward 9 in Providence, which she represents on the council. While working at the West Hotel (now Omni), Castillo organized her fellow workers and helped form a union to garner higher wages, respect, and a better future for service employees and their families. Currently, she is a union steward and member of the executive board for UNITE HERE, Local 217. She has been active in her community for many years, advocating for the rights of immigrants, workers, and women, promoting neighborhood schools and fighting school closings, as well as focusing on improving city services and bringing more services to the war she represents.