Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

AMERICAN STANDOFF

 

Year: 2001
Country: USA
Run Time: 95 minutes

Labor unions in the United States are not the power they were. Once there was a time when the Teamsters were quite ready, willing and able to bring the country to a standstill. What happens when a mighty guild starts to lose its grip? AMERICAN STANDOFF tells the story of the longest strike in Teamster history, against Overnite Transportation, a Richmond-based freight outfit (and subsidiary of the inappropriately-named Union Pacific Corporation) that has resisted organization. Unable to force a company-wide referendum, the Teamsters are faced with the task of winning over one Overnite terminal at a time, across the country. But the company has set aside $20 million as a strike fund ("They could have had two contracts for that kind of money," laments an idled driver), and as months of picketing drag on unionizing efforts takes a backseat to the union's internal skirmishes. Teamster President James P. Hoffa is striving to maintain his position against challengers and factions in the rank and file his father (missing since 1975) helped forge; the Overnite strike becomes as much a question of Hoffa's leadership as it is a crusade over wages and working conditions. The filmmakers' cameras (not always welcome by either side) take you to ground zero, to a Christmas visit by a Teamster Santa Claus, to reports of shootings and intimidation, and into the homes and minds of the workers most affected.

Director
Kristi Jacobson

Producer
Barbara Kopple

Cinematography
Kirsten Johnjson, Kristi Jacobson, Bob Maraist, Tom Kaufman

Editing
Bob Eisenhardt

Principal Cast
Kristi Jacobson makes her feature directing debut with AMERICAN STANDOFF. Previously she collaborated with producer Barbara Kopple and others in documentaries for Lifetime and A&E cable, PBS and ABC television.

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