Fifteen years ago, when Alex Rivera came up with the premise for his award-winning science fiction film Sleep Dealer, the idea of telecommuting was futuristic. Since then, we have become accustomed to the idea that the web and telecommunications can connect workers to customers and headquarters anywhere in the world. The film originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, offering a near future dystopic vision that simply takes current technology to the next level. In Mexican factories, workers are literally plugged into machines with wires that make them appear to be marionettes. Through the technology, their motions are mirrored by robots in the US who pick fruit, build skyscrapers, and even nanny children.
The film got great reviews that included The New York Times and WIRED, plus a distribution deal. But the distributor went under in 2011. Since then, Rivera and his team have been working with Sundance Artist Services to re-release the film on iTunes on June 17th of this year. According to REMEZCLA, a cutting edge Latino culture blog, Sleep Dealer offers “an inspirational narrative about second chances in which trailblazers like the Sundance Artist Services continue to fight for the future of independent film.”
Sleep Dealer digitally re-released today.