Sista in the Brotherhood follows Laneice, an apprentice carpenter, on her first day on the job in a male-dominated workplace.

Sista in the Brotherhood follows Laneice, an apprentice carpenter, on her first day on the job in a male-dominated workplace.

Courtesy of Dawn Jones Redstone

You get up while it’s still dark out. The car won’t start. You have to drop off your baby at the sitter before rushing to work, and then you’re greeted by your new boss with: “I don’t care if you’re my affirmative action plan or quota or whatnot … I just need a good worker right now, and I have no problem laying you off if you cannot get it done, OK?”

It’s just another day in the life for Laneice, the protagonist of the Oregon-filmed short “Sista in the Brotherhood.” She’s an apprentice with just 20 more hours to go before becoming a journey-level carpenter, but her day is not going well.


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Director Dawn Jones Redstone, a journey-level carpenter herself, was inspired to make “Sista” after seeing the play “My Walk Has Never Been Average,” which was in turn inspired by a dissertation by Dr. Roberta Hunte titled “My Walk Has Never Been Average: Black Tradeswomen Negotiating Intersections of Race and Gender In Long Term Careers in The United States.”

“For me, it was the perfect nexus of my two worlds, because I had worked in construction, both as a carpenter and as a trainer, and then I’ve also been making films,” Redstone said. “Above all, as a director and a writer, I’m interested in telling a good story. I think we’ve both been delighted to see it’s reception by both the film industry, in terms of getting into festivals around the country and winning awards, but also to see the film being used by Metro, by Oregon Tradeswomen, by a number of groups who want to show it to people as a teaching tool.”

The film won Best Short Film at February’s Portland International Film Festival and has toured the film festival circuit since (it’s up for a number of awards next weekend at Atlanta’s BronzeLens and New Yorks Revolution Me film festivals).

“Sista In The Brotherhood” airs during OPB’s independent film-making series “Oregon Lens” on Aug. 25, as well as at the Portland Film Festival on Sept. 2.