A Decent Factory

A Decent Factory

« Fascinating! » – Financial Times




Is it possible to make profit and be ethical? Can you make money and be good? Ethical questions are coming more critical for Western companies when they are moving their production to the countries of cheap labour. Companies are getting sensitive about their reputation as their share holders are getting more aware of problems with globalisation.

”A Decent Factory” follows the Ethical Researcher of Nokia company on her trip to China to examine suppliers of Nokia. Clashes between cultures, between ethics and profits, become obvious in this new documentary film by Thomas Balmès.

Nokia – the biggest mobile manufacturer of the world – was born in Finland, one of the least corrupted country in the world. Because of its incredible success, the company has expanded its activities to countries where the use of child labour, violations against human rights and corruption are common phenomena. The film follows what happens when a puritan Nordic person with no historical experience of colonialism is facing the realities of globalisation through her own work.

Hanna Kaskinen is Nokia’s « ethical and environmental specialist ». The film shows in direct cinema -style how she travels to China to investigate the conditions in a factory of a local Nokia supplier. Does the mindful capitalism start with clean teacups for Chinese workers? How much would it cost us if European employers would pay the Chinese even according to the local laws? Do we really care, as a British manager in a factory in China asks?

« The one and only social responsibility of business is to make profits. » Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics

A film directed by Thomas Balmès (Director, Author, Director of Photography, Producer)

Year of production: 2004

Length: 79′

Production: Margot Films, Making Movies, Artline

Broadcasters: France 2, BBC, YLE2, SVT, TV2 Danmark, SBS, Lichtpunt Belgium, HOS, RTBF, RTSR, Discovery Times Channel(US), EBS Korea, ABC Asia Pacific, Maori TV New Zealand, ETV Estonia, Sogecable Spain, Against gravity Poland, NRK Norway, Noga Israel, TV3 Catalonia

With the support of: CNC, AVEK (Finland) and MEDIA



« Funny, perceptive… A moral investigation into the profit motive. » BBC

« Pick of the Day! » The Guardian

“A documentary about a factory inspection sounded as much fun as, well, a factory inspection. But it was fun!” The Daily Telegraph

« Fascinating! » Financial Times

« The filmmakers’ direct cinema style mercilessly records the discomfort among British managers, who walk the tightrope between profit and law. The executives’ initial frankness changes when they find out that the film is not solely intended for internal use. By this time, though, we are already haunted by the images of factory girls on an assembly line, putting together adapters day in and day out for less than the required minimum wage. » Amsterdam International Film Festival

« An in-depth analysis of the complexity of globalization and its famous practice of outsourcing. With his seemingly dispassionate approach, Thomas Balmès provides a pitiless document on a furiously modern world. » Télérama

« A Must-See! » Libération

“Globalization with an inhuman face. An excellent documentary.” Le Nouvel Observateur

« Surprisingly entertaining ! Humor, drama and even some suspense. » Pat Aufderheide, International Documentary

« A subtle, classic documentary drama.” European Documentary Network

« Chilling! It’s like Chaplin’s Modern Times without Charlie… » The New Republic This intimate view of outsourcing… puts the lie to bromides about the ‘knowledge economy’ by demonstrating the very real labor costs behind the high-tech revolution. » Utne

“Provides an honest, brutal and sometimes humorous look at the culture and climate surrounding today’s business world as it collides with consumer desire for ethically-made products.” Chart Magazine


Special Commendation Prix Europa TV currents affairs


IDFA 2004 — Mountain Top Festival — Göteborg Film Festival — Adelaide International Film Festival — Istanbul 1001 Docs — Praha Jeden Svet — Amsterdam Amnesty International Film Festival — HRFF Bologne — HRFF Paris — Quito EDOC — Rio De Janeiro It’s all true — Tel Aviv DOCAVIV — Visions du Réel — Berlin Britspotting — Oslo Documentary Cinema — HOT DOCS — Munich International Documentary film Festival — Freiburg Film forum — Barcelona Cinema Media Ambient — Rhodes Ecofilms — Norvegian short film fest — New York Film Forum — New Zealand Film Fest — EIDF/EBS International Documentary festival — Helsinki Love and Anarchie Festival — Seoul Green Film Festival — Doclisboa — Barcelona Medios FICDH — Viennale — Dresden Human Rights film festival — Zagreb Human Rights Film Festival — Budapest 2nd Int’l Documentary HRFF — New Delhi TRI Continental Film Festival — JIFF Jakarta Int’l Film Festival — DIFF Dubai Int’l Film Festival — Cognac Human Rights International Film Festival

© copyright 2019 – Thomas Balmès