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May 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm – May 16, 2016 at 11:30 pm

Every Fold Matters

A live performance with film by dir. Lizzie Olesker and Lynne Sachs. Presented by the Workers Unite Film Festival.

Tickets available via Eventbrite

Location: UnionDocs – 322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

May 13th – May 16th


Fri, May 13 8:00pm

Sat, May 14 8:00pm

Sun, May 15 3:00pm

Mon, May 16 8:00pm


Every Fold Matters is a live performance with film that looks at the charged, intimate, unseen and underpaid work of cleaning other people’s clothes in a public space. As told by employees inside a neighborhood laundromat, this hybrid performance uses heightened dialogue and gestural choreography to reveal personal stories of dirt, stains, money, exposure, identity, and immigration.

In keeping with its mission to educate, illuminate and motivate audiences with a wide-ranging view of workers, their lives and their struggle for dignity and fair wages, the Workers Unite Film Festival will present the premiere of a new expanded Every Fold Matters. This hybrid documentary and fiction event is the co-creation of experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs and playwright Lizzie Olesker who spent a year gathering stories from laundromat workers and customers. This genre-bending event is an ode to the communal exchange and cultural crossroads of the neighborhood laundry, a place that is fast disappearing from many gentrifying urban areas. Every Fold Matters unfolds on May 13, 14, 15 and 16 at Union Docs with acclaimed downtown actors Ching Valdes-Aran, Jasmine Holloway, Veraalba Santa, and Tony Torn, design by Chris Maltby, film editing by Amanda Katz, producing by Nick McCarthy and original music derived from the sounds of a real, working laundromat by Stephen Vitiello.

Every Fold Matters Veralba Ching leaning


An interview with Lynne Sachs and Lizzie Olesker by Emily von Hoffman from Pixel Magazine

–This could be a story about gentrification (as laundromats dwindle in number), gendered work and invisible workers, the periodic strangeness of life in New York, or the taboo of airing one’s actual dirty laundry in public. The laundry workers perform a private task in a public space, and therefore are allowed to observe private details of their customers’ lives. Because of this, it seems like you decided to frame this story primarily as one about intimacy. Would you say that’s accurate, and can you elaborate more on how these themes will manifest in the film?

–OLESKER & SACHS: The array of quotidian experiences that each of us has as city dwellers is astonishing. Restaurant customers walk into French bistros or Japanese sushi bars and expect to be transported by the tastes of the food, the unfamiliar music and the exotic objects on the walls. But still, there remains a quality of distance between the cook and the person who eats her food. In a nail salon, a woman bows down to color and file her customer’s toes. These experiences are an inherent aspect of the social contract that structures city life. In a laundromat, there is also a very specific and precise closeness that develops. When you bring your shirts and pants to the store to have them cleaned by someone, you are literally sharing your “dirty secrets.” The fabric is like a new epidermal layer that connects you to a total stranger who becomes responsible for this extension of your body. We are trying to convey something about this link between total strangers through the abstracted textures, the choreographed movements and, of course, the texts of “Every Fold Matters”. Our research for the original performance and now the film, began with a year long series of informal interviews with Spanish, Chinese (we worked with a wonderful translator) and sometimes English speaking workers in laundries in Brooklyn and Manhattan. This immersive documentary-style engagement also revealed to us how precarious this service industry has really become. Several of the stores where we have performed our piece have closed – to be replaced by more lucrative, less personal apartment buildings or businesses.

Every Fold Matters Ching Valdes Aran eyes closed

“The legacy of domestic work, the issues surrounding power, and the exchange of money for services are all potent themes which rise to the surface and bubble over in dramatic, thrilling escalations of the everyday.”

–Brooklyn Rail

“Spotlights the often-invisible workers who fold the clothes, maintain the machines and know your secrets.”

–In These Times

“The intersection of film and performance, reality and imagination, employee and customer, historical fact and personal anecdote…You made us rethink the laundromat as a site of urban convergence, where strangers (of different races, religions, languages and classes) make ritualistic visits to a public space that’s also a functional extension of their own homes.”

–Alan Berliner, filmmaker

EVERY FOLD MATTERS has received support from New York State Council on the Arts, The Guggenheim Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (through Dirty Laundry/Loads of Prose), Women and Media Coalition Award, and Fandor FIX Filmmakers.


Lizzie Olesker (co-director) presented her solo piece Tiny Lights: Infinite Miniature at the New Ohio Theater and Invisible Dog in Brooklyn. She was an Audrey Fellow with New Georges, with her new play Embroider Past. Other plays have been presented at Dixon Place, Brave New World Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, the Cherry Lane Theater and the Public. Published in the Brooklyn Rail and Heinemann Press, she’s received support from the Brooklyn Arts Council, New York Foundation for the Arts and the Dramatists Guild. Also worked with the Talking Band (at the Ohio Theater and at Here) and teaches playwriting at Tisch/NYU and the New School.

Lynne Sachs (co-director) makes films and performances that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Fascinated by the interplay of live performance and the moving image, Lynne produced a theatrical version of her hybrid documentary Your Day is My Night in alternative spaces around New York City. Lynne is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts. She will be a visiting artist at Princeton University in 2016. www.lynnesachs.com

Andrew Tilson (executive producer) received his MA in Labor Studies from The Murphy Institute of CUNY in 2011. His admiration for all struggles for workplace dignity led him to form the Workers Unite Film Festival in 2012. Since then, he has partnered with CUNY, SVA, Workmen’s Circle, Penn South in Chelsea and other organizations to promote and screen films from around the world that celebrate global labor solidarity. www.workersunitefilmfestival.org

Stephen Vitiello (music) is an electronic musician and sound artist Stephen Vitiello who transforms incidental atmospheric noises into mesmerizing soundscapes that alter our perception of the surrounding environment. He has composed music for independent films, experimental video projects and installations, collaborating with such artists as Nam June Paik, Tony Oursler, Pauline Oliveros, Taylor Deupree and Ryuichi Sakamoto. This is Stephen’s fourth collaboration with EFM co-director Lynne Sachs. Stephen teaches in the department of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University. www.stephenvitiello.com

Sean Hanley (cinematographer) is a non-fiction filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. His short works have screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival. Sean teaches cinematography at Hunter College and was a cinematographer and co-producer on Lynne Sachs’s Your Day is My Night (2013). Sean is a MFA candidate in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College.

Amanda Katz (editor) works professionally as a film editor and is currently working with Lynne Sachs to craft her latest feature film. Her own work has screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Doc NYC, Encuentros del Otros Cine Festival International, and Microscope Gallery. Her most recent film received funding from the New York State Council on The Arts and The Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. Amanda is a MFA candidate in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College.

Chris Maltby (live performance technical design) serves as Director of Technical Services for The Workers Unite Film Festival, now in its fifth year in NYC. When not writing scathing film critique for publications like Bleeding Cool or Showbusiness Weekly, he is also  Executive Director for The Movie Filth! and CEO of Rest Easy Custom Installations. When not doing any of these, you can find him working behind the wood, slinging cocktails at his new restaurant Bar Truman.

Nick McCarthy (live performance producer) serves as Operations Manager and a Programmer at NewFest, NY’s LGBT Film Festival, as well as a film curator at The Tank. He has written about film for such publications as Slant Magazine, Time Out New York, and The Boston Phoenix, and has covered The New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, SXSW, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Every Fold Matters Lynne Sachs Lizzie Olesker film still w Jas Vera


Jasmine Holloway (performer) is a singer and actress who has performed in productions at the Harlem Repertory Theatre as well as in the highly acclaimed Generations at Soho Rep. Jasmine was nominated for the Richard Maltby Jr. Award for Musical Theatre Excellence during the 2013 Kennedy Center College Theatre Festival.

Veraalba Santa (performer) is an actress and dancer and a member of Caborca Theater. She has degrees in Theater and Dance from the University of Puerto Rico and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. In New York City, Veraalba has worked with Sally Silvers, Rojo Robles, Viveca Vazquez and Rosa Luisa Marquez.

Tony Torn (performer) was last seen on stage in the title role of Ubu Sings Ubu at B.B. King’s, a rock opera adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi which he created and co-directed. An actor and director known for his extensive work with Reza Abdoh and Richard Foreman, Tony recently made his Broadway debut in Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Ching Valdes-Aran (performer) is an Obie award-winning actor who has appeared on and off Broadway, including The Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, La Mama, Women’s Project, CSC, Mabou Mines, Ma-Yi Theater Company, La Jolla, Center Stage, Yale Rep, and ACT.   Her film work includes roles in Lav Diaz’s From What is Before (Golden Leopard Award, Locarno Int’l Festival), Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe and Ira Sachs’ Little Men.

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About The Workers Unite Film Festival

The Workers Unite Film Festival features student and professional films from both the US and around the world. These films highlight and publicize the struggles, successes and daily lives of workers in their efforts to unite and organize for better living conditions and social justice.

More information:http://www.workersunitefilmfestival.org/


May 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm
May 16, 2016 at 11:30 pm

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