Camera As Witness: Human Dignity—Faces of Immigration
This film series is moderated by Jasmina Bojic, Camera as Witness program director and founder of the UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival) international documentary film festival. This year, Bojic is devoting the series to the urgent and fraught challenge of human immigration. The filmmakers in this Summer’s series give this global political issue a human face, taking us inside the lives of men women and children who leave home, setting out for what they hope will be better and safer lives elsewhere. Dreams Awake (7 min.)Directors: Kevin Gordon and Rebekah MeredithThis film is a meditation on the immigrant experience through the life and poetry of Doroteo Garcia, a Mexican immigrant, father, janitor, union activist, and poet. Like countless Mexican immigrants, Doroteo came to the United States to make a better life for his family, leaving behind his sons in the process. What was meant to be a short separation turned into more than a decade. Death on a Friendly Border (25 min.)Director: Rachel AntellSince the mid-1990s when the United States began militarizing its southern border, an average of one person per day has died crossing into our country. Death on a Friendly Border puts a human face on this international tragedy. We hear the story of one woman's journey with her 18-month-old baby as well as stories of the migrants, the Border Patrol agents, and the activists for whom the militarization of the border has become the governing reality of their lives. Without Country (21 min.)Director: Theo RigbyWithout Country attempts to go beyond the partisan politics and mainstream media's "talking point" approach to immigration issues by exploring one family's complex and emotional journey involving deportation. In 1992, Sam and Elida Mejia left Guatemala during a violent civil war and brought their one-year-old son, Gilbert, to California. They settled in Marin County and in seventeen years, they have worked multiple jobs to support their family, pay their taxes, and save enough to buy a home. They had two more children, Helen and Dulce, both U.S. citizens. Two years ago, immigration agents stormed the Mejias' house looking for someone who didn't live there. Sam, Elida, and Gilbert became deeply entangled in the U.S. immigration system. After a passionate fight to keep the family together, Sam and Elida were deported to Guatemala, taking Dulce with them. Undocumented (72 min.)Director: Patricia ShihBorn and raised in what was the drug and murder capital of the world, Medellin, Colombia, Harold’s parents fled the violence with the same dream that all immigrants hold—to make a better life in a new land. Harold faced years of separation from his parents as a young boy, grave danger on the open seas, and hardship, fear, bullying, and bigotry in America. Through hard work, perseverance, and the support of compassionate people, Harold Fernandez and his family became legal citizens of the U.S., with Harold graduating from Princeton and Harvard Medical School. He is one of the top cardiac surgeons in New York, saving countless lives, literally holding the hearts and the lives of his patients and their families in his hands. His story holds hope for the millions of immigrants who have come to the land of their dreams The films will run in consecutive order beginning at 2:00 pm.