Life and Debt

2001, 86 minutes
Director/Producer: Stephanie Black
Distributed by New Yorker Films

Additional Resources


Documentary Films

Breaking the Bank (2000, 74 minutes)
Distributor: Deep Dish Television
Produced by Deep Dish Television in conjunction with the Independent Media Center, Washington, D.C.
      This films looks at the issues surrounding the protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington D.C. in April, 2000.

Emperor's New Clothes: a Cautionary Tale (1997, 54 minutes)
A Film by Magnus Isacsson
Distributor: Bullfrog Films
National Film Board of Canada; first released in 1995.
      This film takes looks at the profound effects that economic agreements between big business and government can have on human lives, including cuts to social programs, massive unemployment, environmental damage, and demoralization.

Global Institutions and Human Rights (1996, 26 minutes)
Director: Eulogio L. Ortiz, Jr.
Distributor: Chip Taylor Communications
Produced by Globalvision, Inc.
      This film is in three segments. The first segment asks if global institutions are outmoded in the new world order. It examines institutions the UN, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and NATO in a post-Cold War context. The second segment reports on World Bank activities in Mexico and their impact on the daily lives of ordinary Mexican citizens. The final segment presents an interview with UN Assistant Secretary General Alvaro De Soto about the role of human rights organizations in the post-Cold War era.

H-2 Worker (1990, 67 minutes)
Producer/Director: Stephanie Black.
Distributor: First Run Icarus Films
      This video examines the exploitation of Jamaican laborers by the Florida sugar cane industry. For six months a year, over 10,000 men from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands perform the brutal task of cutting sugar cane by hand – a job so dangerous and low-paying that Americans refuse to do it.

Invisible Wall (1993, 54 minutes)
Director: Ole Alskov
Distributor: Filmakers Library
      PACE News Ltd.; produced by John Gaffney and Ole Alskov.
This video looks at the role food politics, multi-national corporations, third world debt and trade barriers play in fueling poverty and environmental destruction in the world's poorest countries. The program argues that, in the post-Cold War era, global inequalities between the rich and the poor will occur on a greater scale than ever before. Noam Chomsky and Susan George are featured.

Money Lender: the World Bank & International Monetary Fund: a Global Report (1991, 88 minutes)
Distributor: Richter Productions
Richter Productions in association with Public Media, Inc.; produced and reported by Robert Richter; written by Robert Richter with Peter Kinoy.
      This video examines the effects of World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans by looking at how individuals used the money they received from those institutions and the consequences the loans have had on their lives. This inquiry takes us to Bolivia, Ghana, Brazil, Thailand, the Philippine Islands, and Mexico

Trade Off (2000, 90 minutes)
Director: Shaya Mercer
Distributor: Wright Angle Media; 90 minutes, 2000
      When the World Trade Organization met for the first time on U.S. soil in Seattle in 1999, it was greeted by tens of thousands of protesters from a broad coalition of diverse communities. This video recounts this event.



Cezair-Thompson, Margaret. The True History of Paradise: A Novel. Plume: Reissue edition, 2000.

Kincaid, Jamaica. Small Place. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1988 1st edition.

Manley, Michael. A Voice at the Workplace: Reflections on Colonialism and the Jamaican Worker. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1991.

Manley, Michael. Up the Down Escalator: Development and the International Economy: A Jamaican Case Study. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1987.

Monteith, Kathleen; Glen Richards, editors. Jamaica in Slavery and Freedom: History, Heritage and Culture. Kingston, Jamaica: University Press of West Indies Press, 2002.


Web Sites

50 Years is Enough
      50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice is a coalition of over 200 U.S. grassroots, women's, solidarity, faith-based, policy, social- and economic-justice, youth, labor and development organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

      The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 64 national and international labor unions. Fighting for the rights of its workers, the AFL-CIO web site includes various links, resources, and articles concerning globalization and its affects on working families.

Life and Debt resources
      Learn more about the central issues and institutions around which the globalization debate revolves by accessing a reading list, perusing pro- and anti-globalization perspectives offered in select online articles, or view suggested web sites.

H-2 worker
      Introduction to another film by Stephanie Black.

Life and Debt (review)
      Life and Debt: Freedom Not Yet Briarpatch Magazine, July 2001, by Kyle Henry.

Life and Debt (review)
      Life and Debt: A film by Stephanie Black Black Dollar & Sense, May 2002, by Nick Thorkelson.

Life and Debt (film homepage)

New Yorker Films
      New Yorker Films has been America's leading source for the films that matter on the cutting edge of world cinema. The company was founded as an outgrowth of the legendary New Yorker Theater, established the vital tradition of presenting the world's most innovative, artistically significant, and politically engaged films.

World Bank
      The World Bank is the world's largest source of development assistance, providing nearly $16 billion in loans annually to its client countries.

Stephanie Black (producer/director's homepage)

POV (television broadcast site for Life and Debt)

PBS (filmmaker's biography)


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Page last updated on March 2011. Comments or suggestions please email