Der Film erhielt zwei Preise auf dem Sundance Film Festival 2008. In Deutschland wurde er erstmals auf der Berlinale 2008 gezeigt und lief in der Sektion Panorama. Auf der Berlinale wurde der Film mit dem Amnesty International Preis ausgezeichnet. Beim Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival 2008 erhielt Sleep Dealer den Preis für den besten Film.
Sleep Dealer, which took Sundance's screenwriting award and the Alfred P. Sloan Prize for science-oriented films, follows Memo (Luis Fernando Peña), a bulky country boy, from his family's rural village to the big city of Tijuana, where he finds work in one of the human factories that have replaced the industrial economy. In these \"sleep dealers,\" so called (in English) for the exhaustion they mete out, node workers connect their nervous systems to robotic machinery on the other side of the border, exporting their labor without moving their bodies.
Riker's 1998 film La Ciudad was a neorealist chronicle of the lives of Spanish-language migrant workers in New York City, but he has been living in Oaxaca, Mexico, for the last three and a half years, where he has experienced the onset of Sleep Dealer's water crisis firsthand. Like many components of the movie's speculative future, the corporate control of southern Mexico's water supply is only a slight interpolation from the world of today. The \"aqua-terrorists\" accused of sabotaging the water conglomerates' operations were inspired by the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia, who successfully protested Bechtel's control of their municipal water supply. The virtual labor of the sleep dealers is merely a physical analogue to the Indian workers who staff call centers and read X-rays in Bangalore and Hyberabad. Neural interfaces of the kind Sleep Dealer envisions are still a ways off, but scientists have succeeded in connecting computers to the brains of paralyzed patients, allowing them to control the device with their minds.
Alex Rivera is a New York-based digital media artist and filmmaker whose work addresses the concerns of the Latino community through a language of humor, satire, and metaphor. Over the past ten years, he has been making work that illuminates two massive and parallel realities: the globalization of information through the internet, and the globalization of families, and communities through mass migration. His first feature film, Sleep Dealer, premiered at Sundance 2008, and won two awards, including the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.
Dir: Alex Rivera. Mexico/US. 2008. 90 mins.Alex Rivera's low budget futuristic thriller Sleep Dealer is set in the near future where the USA has been sealed off from Mexico yet Mexican workers still do all the hard labour through technology. A selection in dramatic competition at Sundance last week and the winner of the screenplay prize, the film is certainly to be admired for its ambition but falls down critically in the plot department and ultimately comes off as more concept than absorbing story.It's a marvel of sorts that a film this ambitious was produced on such a modest budget (a reported $2m), let alone with the visual panache and highly respectable special effects that Rivera brings to it. And while the Spanish-language film has little chance of making any indent in the mainstream, it has the potential to achieve profile and awareness in the US Latin community as well as sales to Mexico (where it is set) and Spanish-language territories. A zealous following will also develop among sci-fi and genre nerds and it will be a staple on this year's fantasy festival circuit.Borrowing liberally from classics of the genre like eXistenZ, Minority Report and Blade Runner, Rivera nevertheless invents a milieu of contemporary relevance about the control of the water supply, corporate militarization and the US immigration question.
As Memo gets work in the factories, controlling robots on the US side with his nervous system, his illusions are shattered. The factories work the Mexicans hard (the factories are known as 'sleep dealers') and many die on the job. His one consolation is that he is providing for his family and falling in love with Luz, only to discover that she is using him to provide more memories to her mysterious buyer.
Mexico. The future. The rivers have been damned up into vast reservoirs and water is purchased by the litre. While country folk scratch a living from the dry earth, in the cities, factory workers have become semi-cyborgs, fixed up in dingy backstreet surgeries with intravenous 'nodes' and hooked up to the internet in enormous node factories known as sleep dealers, providing virtual labour in America.
Memo (Luis Fernando Peña) is a restless country boy who dreams of a better life in the city. But be careful what you wish for, because his dream comes true rather sooner than he envisaged when he hacks into the American Army's frequency and in response, they blow up his house, with his father in it. Of course, the lights of the big city don't shine so bright once he gets there and finds himself working twelve hours shifts in a sleep dealer, controlling a robot welder on a building site in San Diego, running the risk of being fried alive from the inside should the system overload.
[imagen]Born in New York, Alex Rivera is not only a director but a digital media artist. His first film Sleep Dealer (U.S.-Mexico, 2008), was screened at Sundance, where it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. It also won the Amnesty International Film Prize at the 2008 Berlinale.
In 2008, Facebook was only four years old and had a mere 100 million worldwide users (compared to more than 2.3 billion today). YouTube was only three years old and known mostly for amusing cat videos. The idea of using drones for military purposes, let alone as a routine part of civilian daily life, was still in its infancy.
Alex Rivera's first feature length film, Sleep Dealer, was released theatrically in 2008 in over thirty cities across the United States. Audiences were introduced to a futuristic vision of society that today, just seven years later, is not some far-fetched dreamscape but an uncanny depiction of the present. Rivera's science fiction film depicts the future as a place where borders are closed and militarized, and where drones and elaborate forms of surveillance protect against the threat of aqua-terrorists. Workers remotely perform labor in distant lands--in the U.S., Europe, and other so-called first world countries--by connecting themselves to a global digital network. In his radical and groundbreaking film, Rivera invites viewers to consider the complexities of globalization and technology, and the roles they play in exploiting and oppressing immigrants.
[illus. 1] The 2008 Sundance Film Festival, ending this week in Park City,Utah, included a healthy handful of science-themed films. Since the successesof 2005's feel-good Antarctic birdfest, March of thePenguins, and 2006's feel-bad Al Gore lecture An InconvenientTruth, scientific documentaries have been in the ascendant -- especially thoseabout the environment. 59ce067264