Domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times
Domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

The Hong Kong documentary film The Helper, an inside look at the lives of Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers in the city, has secured international distribution.

Produced and directed by Hong Kong-based British filmmaker Joanna Bowers and co-produced by Tony Verb, the film portrays the lives of domestic workers who leave their families and home countries in search of work in Hong Kong.

According to Hollywood Reporter, the film will be released globally on July 24.

In what was a rare success for a locally made documentary, the film’s 11-week Hong Kong theatrical run was sold out.

The documentary captured the story of how Filipino domestic worker Liza Avelino’s passion for mountaineering led her to conquering the 6,189m Island Peak in the Himalaya, near Mt. Everest.

“The Helper” also chronicles The Unsung Heroes, a 50-member volunteer choir comprised solely of domestic workers. It shows the intensive preparation they undertook before their debut performance at Clockenflap, Hong Kong’s largest outdoor music festival, in 2015.

Besides the warm and positive sides of the lives of domestic workers, Bowers also documented the difficulties they encountered in their daily lives.

Bowers launched a crowdfunding scheme before beginning filming and about HK$700,000 (US$89,184) was raised for the production in only 30 days, news website reported.

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Read: Moms away from home: stories of Hong Kong’s domestic helpers