Tuesday, June 27, 2017

At the Movies: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan to Star in "The Foreigner"

Far-Right Member On Trial for Smuggling Refugee Lover

Béatrice Huret, photo Steve Finn via BBC

The story of Béatrice Huret feels a bit like a Lifetime movie. As the BBC reports, Huret was a card-carrying member of France's far-right National Front (FN). And then, one day, she gave a ride to a teenager living in France's notorious Calais refugee camp.

Huret was appalled by the conditions at Calais. And she began to help.

Along the way, she met Mokhtar. "It was love at first sight."

They lived together for a while. She ended up buying a small boat that he and two friends used to sail across the English Channel. At some point, the boat started taking on water, but the men were rescued and taken to a refugee camp in the UK.

While Huret's story hasn't made it to the big or little screen just yet, she does have a tell-all book called Calais mon amour. And The Local reports that "several film-makers are vying to acquire the rights."

All that attention has landed Huret in hot water. Last August, she was arrested and charged with people smuggling. Today, she goes on trial. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.

Asked by the BBC if it was worth it, Huret replied: "Yes... I did it for him. You do anything for love."


UPDATE: Huret has been found guilty but, the BBC reports, the court "did not hand down any punishment" for her.

June 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

CNN's Refugee Videos

CNN has posted a series of videos - interviews with Muslim refugees who resettled in the United States between 1982 and 2014.

The interviewees answer questions such as: What was the American dream for you? What is the greatest difficulty you face in the US? What are your greatest fears about today's political and social climate? What does the future hold for you and other refugees in America?

The clips are all brief - less than 2 minutes each. They could easily be incorporated into the classroom to really humanize the issue of asylum and refugee law.


June 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

At the Movies: Warehoused

I spent World Refugee Day with the Global Friends Coalition in Grand Forks, an organization that brings together individuals and organizations to foster the integration of New Americans into our community. Global Friends hosted a screening and discussion of the documentary Warehoused. Here's the the trailer:

The focus of the movie is what's it like to live in a refugee camp, specifically Dadaab in Kenya. You get a sense of the space - built for 90,000 but currently housing 350,000 though, unofficially, that number might be closer to 600,000. Those hundreds of thousands of refugees at Dadaab live an "extremely restrictive life." They cannot leave the camp and generations may be born and die there without leaving its boundaries. The film also sheds light on schooling, housing, food, water and sanitation within the camp.

The film highlights the "impossible dream" of resettlement in a third country like the United States or Australia. Only 2,000 or so will be resettled each year. Yet the birth rate at the camp is 1,000 a month.

The film is a little over an hour long. And I'll note that it's appropriate for mature children as well as adults. There's little discussion of the violence that leads refugees to seek shelter in Dadaab. It's really more about what it's like to live in a camp, "waiting for resettlement that will never come."


June 21, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 5, 2017

At the Movies: And They They Came for Us (Opening Aug. 2017)

Came for us

And They They Came for Us 

This is a documentary film by Abby Ginzberg. The documentary ties together the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II with current moves towards instituting a Muslim registry. The film, which opens in August, demonstrates the importance of speaking up against any efforts to register or ban Muslims today. Knowing our history is the first step in making sure we do not repeat it. Click here for a preview.



June 5, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

'We film, therefore we are'


Holding her toddler in her arms, the young woman spoke at first timidly into the camera: “My name is Rehana, and I am 14. I never had access to school. Now I have children, but they have no school either.”

Her voice grew in confidence and strength as she imagined herself speaking to a wider audience. “I want my son to learn English, Burmese and Bangla, because I’m certain that if he is educated, he won’t have to work in any odd job. He’ll be self-dependent!”

We are in Leda, a makeshift settlement in Cox’s Bazar, one of Bangladesh’s most remote and impoverished districts – more than four hours travel by air and land from Dhaka – where an extremely vulnerable community of 15,000 live isolated and uncertain lives. To give communities a much-needed voice in problem solving, the International Organization for Migration has started a Participatory Video initiative in the makeshift settlements.


June 1, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Law and Order Season Finale on the "American Dream/Sanctuary"



Last week, Law & Order: SVU had its season finale and it had a "ripped from the headlines" story line about hate crimes against Muslims, undocumented immigrants, "sanctuary cities," and more.  Here is a description:  "Three masked men break into a Syrian family’s restaurant, steal the money, kill the father, rape both of his adult daughters, then kill one of those daughters. Along the way, the criminals spray-paint “Muslims must die” on the refrigerators."  The episode can be watched online.

The episode had the NYPD detectives investigating a horrible rape/murder case with a family of Muslim victims.  In the course of the special two hour episode, the story line takes us through the modern immigration debates  immigration and the Big Apple's status as a "sanctuary city"; nonetheless, SVU detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) threatens an undocumented immigrant mother from El Salvador with removal unless she provides information.  In the end, the viewer has to decide whether justice has been done.



May 28, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

At the Movies -- Cannes 2017: Virtual Reality Film Carne y Arena Tells of Border Crossing Experience




The Los Angeles Times reports on the this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where organizers for the first time included a virtual reality project in its Official Selection.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s ”Carne y Arena,” by the Oscar-winning director of Birdman and “The Revenant,” is a multi-platform experience that includes a VR film.

"Carne y Arena” tells the story of Latin American immigrants attempting to cross into the United States through the Arizona desert when they are caught by U.S. authorities. Iñárritu and his frequent cinematography collaborator Emmanuel Lubezki located real people who suffered the torturous journey and had them reenact it on camera; they then shot their stories with VR's 360-degree sweep and in-your-face urgency.


May 24, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Professional Boxer Fights for Green Card


USA Today reports the immigration backstory to professional boxer Ray Beltran's spectacular knockout victory of Jonathan Maicelo last Saturday night.  Before the fight, Beltran (33-7-1) had been told by immigration experts that climbing into mandatory challenger position for the International Boxing Federation lightweight title would likely prove decisive in his long fight to become a green card holder after entering the United States as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico as a teen.

Beltran’s situation was first featured on USA TODAY Sports last week, as part of the Sports on the Border series. 

Beltran seeks to convince U.S. immigration authorities that he is an "extraordinary athlete" and eligible for an employment-based (EB-1) lawful permanent resident visa.  The visa is typically available to certain sportspeople, entertainers, and masters of the arts and sciences. Recently, he has been in the U.S. under a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa for athletes.


May 22, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Death on the Border: 20 Years ago, Esequiel Hernández, Jr.  


LexisNexis Legal Newsroom reminds us of the consequences of our militarization of the border:  "In 1997, U.S. Marines patrolling the Texas-Mexican border as part of the war on drugs shot and killed Esequiel Hernández, Jr.   Mistaken for a drug runner, the 18 year old was, in fact, a U.S. citizen tending his family's goats with a .22 rifle.   He became the first American killed by U.S. military forces on native soil since the 1970 Kent State shootings."

This PBS DVD, The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, is a must-view for all who care about our border policies.  


May 21, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

At the Movies: Lupe Under The Sun and Purgatorio


Lupe Under The Sun is a fictional portrait with real migrant laborers as actors that delves into the psychological effects of the loneliness and poverty undocumented workers frequently experience. The film explores the dislocation faced by those who have crossed borders in search of opportunity.


Purgatorio is a provocative documentary re-imagines the Mexico/U.S. border as a mythical place comparable to Dante’s purgatory. The border is depicted as a place where desperate poverty, violence, protectionism and paranoia collide. Purgatorio is a timely and resonant portrait of humanity.


May 16, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Light & Noir: Exiles & Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933-1950


The California History Museum is exhibiting Light & Noir: Exiles & Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933-1950 from May 16 - Oct. 15, 2017.   

Carla Meyer in the Sacramento Bee describes the exhibit as follow:  "As Adolf Hitler rose to power in the 1930s, many German-speaking actors and directors found refuge, and work, in Hollywood. These exiles – many but not all Jewish – included directing great Billy Wilder and much of the supporting cast of `Casablanca.'”


The exhibit “Light & Noir: Exiles & Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933-1950” showcases “how important German-speaking exiles were in shaping what we now call the Golden Age of Hollywood,” exhibit curator Doris Berger said by telephone.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article149848299.html#storylink=cpy

Drawn from the collections of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, Paramount and more, artifacts from the 16 films featured in the exhibit tell the history of Hollywood’s formative era through the lens of the émigré experience, demonstrating experiences of immigration, acculturation and innovation that intersect with the flourishing of Hollywood as an American cultural phenomenon whose legacy continues to shape the industry today. Highlights include:



May 14, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Freeze Frame: Modern Marvels

There is a whole lot of immigration on TV, even if you don't set out to watch a program that has anything to do with the subject. Check out this snap from a random Modern Marvels episode that I came across:


Cheerful stuff! According to the Center for Survivors of Torture, today there are closer to 500,000 survivors of torture in the US - with 100,000 in California alone.


May 10, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

And The Winner For Best Headline Goes To...

...the NYT for Mexican Drug Smugglers to Trump: Thanks!

Beyond the headline, the article has great information about how drugs are coming across the Southern border (climbing the wall, hidden in cars, through tunnels, by catapult). The influx of drugs is controlled by cartels. And the prices they can charge for drugs increase as the wall grows higher.

In addition to the uptick in drug prices, the border wall increases the prices charged by cartels to bring people across the border. "If migrants try to cross the border without paying, they risk getting beaten or murdered."

Not to be missed in this video linked to within the article of drug smugglers climbing the wall with their bare hands. That clip is definitely making it into my next class.


May 9, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

PLURAL + Call for Entries 2017

PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival is a joint initiative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that invites the world’s youth to submit original and creative videos focusing on the themes of migration, diversity and social inclusion. By supporting the distribution of youth-produced media, PLURAL+ recognizes youth as powerful agents of positive social change in a world often characterized by intolerance, and cultural and religious divisions.

PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival invites the world’s youth to submit dynamic and forward-thinking videos focusing on themes of migration, diversity and social inclusion.  The event is organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in collaboration with many partners.  The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in New York later this year.  Deadline for submission is 4 June 2017.


A 2016 Winner


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

At the Movies: Hotel USA -- First Night in America


"The United States has a long, complicated history of accepting refugees from around the world. However, few of us are familiar with the intricacies of how relocation and resettlement works. Back in 2006, after reading an article about an airport hotel that shelters refugees awaiting their connections to far-flung corners of this country, we found ourselves wondering about their very first night here. How did these newcomers navigate that foreign, if quintessentially American environment?

By the end of 2011, the wars in the Middle East had precipitated a global refugee crisis, and we decided to make a film about that first night in America for those families who made it here. As we filmed family after family passing through a hotel near New York, we were struck by the universality of the experience of landing in a new place after a long flight: jet lag, hunger, disorientation, anxiety, hope."




May 3, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Building the Wall: A Play


A play anyone?  BUILDING THE WALL , playing now at The Fountain in Los Angeles, lays out in a harrowing drama the consequences of President Trump’s anti-immigration campaign rhetoric turned in federal policy. Two years from now, that policy has resulted in the mass round-up of millions of "illegal aliens," with their incarceration overflowing into private prisons and camps reminiscent of another century. The former warden for one facility is awaiting sentencing for what happened under his watch. In a riveting interview with an historian who has come seeking the truth, he gradually reveals how the unthinkable became the inevitable, and the faceless illegals under his charge became the face of tragedy.

Visit the Building the Wall Website

Here is a review from the Los Angeles Times.



May 2, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Law Enforcement Officials Take On DACA Students' Roles In Colorado Play


"Do You Know Who I Am?" is a one-act show featuring autobiographical monologues written and performed by youth living in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, staged at the Motus Theater in Boulder, Colorado.

This weekend, the show has featured a twist.  Boulder County district attorney, the county sheriff and police chiefs from the Colorado cities of Longmont, Louisville and Lafayette take on the roles of these immigrants.

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett (@DAGarnett) and show writer and performer Victor Galvan (@victorgalvan247here why the show tool this turn, and what it means to the original actors and law enforcement officials who will share their stories.



April 30, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Kreosan: Ukrainian Youtubers Offer Wacky Experiments, With A Side Of War & Immigration

Kreosan is a youtube duo that offers low-tech high-drama science experiments like how to start a fire with a cellphone and heating food with electricity. The channel is so popular, it's been profiled by the NYT.

The videos are fun to watch, especially when explosions ensue! But they also give a glimpse into what it's like to live in the midst of war.

For example, check out this video tour of their hometown Luhansk.

Of most interest to immprofers, though, might be this video of the pair's journey from Ukraine to Moscow for a youtuber conference. The duo hitchhiked their way and slept in a tent off the road. Watch from 1:33 to 3:00 or 4:30 as they cross checkpoints. Your heart will ache right after when you hear how when they leave the combat zone, they note it's "unusual for us to see people freely walking in peace" and "not hearing consistent sounds" of shelling.


April 25, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Message From Sean Spicer