Santa Clara University

Film depicts struggles of Law Center clients

Clients, students, and staff of the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center are featured in a new documentary about the struggles of workers to get compensation under the state of California’s workers’ compensation system. "Thank You For Your Patience," by SCU professor Yahia Mahamdi, documents the efforts of injured workers, including two longtime Law Center clients, to obtain the benefits under the system.

The media often portrays injured workers as people trying to take advantage of the system and avoid work. Susan Levin, supervising attorney for the Center’s workers’ compensation program, said the film corrects that misrepresentation and presents "an accurate portrayal of how people are affected by the system. The film shows the reality of how people’s lives are made miserable by their injuries and how they want to return to work. It also shows how their injuries affect not just them but their families."

Mahamdi received a grant from the SCU to make the film, undergraduates from the communication department worked as production assistants, and law students working at the Center appeared in the film to discuss the maze-like nature of the workers’ compensation system and the emotional toll it takes on the lives of the injured workers.

Mahamdi, associate professor in communication at SCU, teaches filmmaking, film history, and criticism. He earned a Ph.D. in radio, television, and film from the University of Texas at Austin and has worked as a cinematographer in France and the U.S.

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