Film phase:Completed


Chronicling the historic efforts of the ALU, Union is an intimate and surprising story of dogged determination, unorthodox tactics, and speaking up despite David vs. Goliath odds. Capturing up-close, in-the-trenches moments with the upstart labor union leaders — including the charismatic Chris Smalls — as they try to build support for their movement on their own terms, filmmakers Brett Story and Stephen Maing bear witness to the realities of labor organizing in the United States — challenging at best; near-impossible when facing the unlimited resources and influence of a corporate giant. They track exhilarating victories and demoralizing setbacks along the way, but foremost spotlight the far-reaching ability of collective action to inspire hope and bring self-determination to workers who’ve long felt disenfranchised and powerless.

Union was supported through Brett Story’s 2023 Chicken & Egg Award.



This is a headshot of Brett Story, a white woman with freckles and long brown hair and bangs. She is sitting at a table against a white wall, wearing a black turtleneck and jeans.Brett Story (she/her) is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based out of Toronto. She is the director of the critically acclaimed feature documentaries The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) and The Hottest August (2019), both of which have screened around the world. Brett has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Sundance Documentary Institute and she was named one of Variety’s 10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch in 2019. 


Headshot of Stephen Maing in black and whiteStephen Maing (he/him) is an Emmy-award winning filmmaker based in New York. His feature documentary Crime + Punishment, which he directed, filmed and edited, won a Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary and was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. His previous films, High Tech, Low Life, which he directed, filmed and edited over five years, and The Surrender, have screened internationally and were released on POV and Field of Vision, respectively. Maing is a 2021 United States Artists Fellow, Sundance Institute Fellow, NBC Original Voices Fellow, John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Reporting Fellow and a recipient of the IDA’s prestigious Courage Under Fire Award shared with the whistleblowers of the NYPD12. He is a frequent visiting artist and educator based in Ridgewood, Queens.



Headshot of Samantha Curley in black and whiteSamantha Curley (she/her) is an award-winning documentary film producer and creative entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. She is the Co-Founder of Level Ground, which is both a 501(c)3 nonprofit artist collective and a collaboratively run production company. The first film she produced, Framing Agnes (dir. Chase Joynt), premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival where it won the NEXT Innovator Award and Audience Award and went on to win the 2023 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Kellogg School of Management and currently holds fellowships with the Producers Guild of America, Impact Partners, and NBCU Original Voices. In 2023, she received a Cali Catalyst grant awarded to California changemakers creating tangible impact within the arts and culture sector, shifting power and influence to historically underrepresented voices.



Mars Verrone headshot in black and white

Mars Verrone (they/them) is a filmmaker and musician from Los Angeles, CA, now based in Brooklyn, New York. They produced the feature documentary Union, (dir. Stephen Maing, Brett Story) which premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition and won a special jury prize for “The Art of Change.” They have fellowships with Sundance Institute, NBC, the Producers Guild of America, and Brown Girls Doc Mafia. Their work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Field of Vision, and the International Documentary Association, among others. 




Headshot of Martin Dicicco in black and white

Martin DiCicco (he/him) is a cinematographer and director whose work includes All That Passes By Through a Window That Doesn’t Open, Here There is No Earth, Girls Got Game, Searchers, The Hottest August, Landfall, and forthcoming films by Angelo Madsen Minax, Timothy George Kelly, and Jem Cohen.