Monday, January 23, 2017
"Wallah Je te jure” is a documentary filmed in 2016 in Niger, directed by Marcello Merletto and produced by the International Organization for Migration. It tells the stories of men and women travelling along West African migration routes to Italy. Senegal's rural villages, Niger's bus stations and "ghettos" full of traffickers, Italian squares and houses are the backdrops of these courageous trips, which often end in tragedy. No matter the cost, the goal to reach Europe will be achieved, "Wallah." But there are those who, tired from the journey, turn back home.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Yesterday was a the day of the Women's March -- actually marches -- in cities across the United States. Sophie Cruz, a 6-year-old immigration activist and daughter of two undocumented immigrants, spoke at the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday and won over the crowd with her inspiring message. After delivering her speech in English, she repeated it in Spanish and led the crowd in a chant of “Si, se puede,” or “Yes, we can.” Social media exploded with support for Cruz, who initially attracted attention when she slipped through security barricades to reach Pope Francis during a procession when he visited the U.S. in 2015. She handed the pope a letter about immigration reform, in which she expressed her fear that her parents would be deported.
“We are here together making a chain of love to protect our families,” Cruz said during her Saturday remarks. “Let us fight with love, faith and courage so that our families will not be destroyed.
“I also want to tell the children not to be afraid, because we are not alone,” Cruz continued. “There are still many people that have their hearts filled with love.”
Friday, January 20, 2017
"One aspect of Donald Trump that has particularly bothered me has been his denunciations of immigrants. Maybe that’s partly because I’m a son of a refugee, or maybe it just seems unfair to scapegoat people who are powerless and struggling, or maybe it just seems hypocritical. In any case, I prepared this video that tells a special story about Trump and immigration. The best recommendation for it? He’ll hate it!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Here are "11 Documentaries About Immigrants Everyone Should Watch Right Now." Below is the trailer for number 6 on the list:
Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas made headlines in 2011 when he revealed he was undocumented, risking everything to redefine what it means to be an American.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
President-Elect Trump will be inaugurated on Friday. PBS reminds us that, eight years ago, a poster designed by Shepard Fairey became the iconic image of the 2008 presidential campaign. The “HOPE” poster, featuring an image of Barack Obama, began with a print run of just 350, and spread after it was distributed on the street, at rallies and online. Now, the graphic artist, muralist, illustrator and activist is back with another street art campaign called “We the People” for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. See above. Note that the new president’s face won’t be on it.
Shepard has created three portraits for the campaign; two other artists, Colombian American muralist Jessica Sabogal and and Chicano graphic artist Ernesto Yerena, have each made one more. Together, they hope the faces of “We the People” — standing in for traditionally marginalized groups or those specifically targeted during Trump’s presidential campaign — will flood Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.
Fairey is collaborating with the Amplifier Foundation, a nonprofit that works to amplify grassroots movements and which commissioned the project. After learning that large-sized signs were prohibited at Inauguration, Amplifier came up with a hack to distribute the posters. Their plan: to buy full-page ads in the Washington Post on Jan. 20 that feature the “We the People” images, which can be torn out and carried as placards, or hung and posted around town. The posters will also be distributed at metro stops, from moving vans and other drop spots on Inauguration Day, as well as posted online for free download. A Kickstarter campaign for “We the People” has raised more than $148,000 since it was launched Tuesday night.
“We the People” posters by Shepard Fairey, Ernesto Yerena and Jessica Sabogal / Amplifier Foundation
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Sat tuned for "Campito Kids", a short film, is the story of a migrant family as they struggle to overcome cultural barriers and adjust to their ever-shifting lives. It is based on the filmmaker's experiences and years of observations.
Campito Kids by Antonio De Loera-Brust was shot entirely in Yolo County, California in migrant camps.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Last night, Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper talked about their favorite shows to binge watch on New Years Day, when they're inevitably recovering from their evening amusing us masses with their uniquely wonderful New Year's Eve countdown show on CNN.
Here's Kathy's description of TLC's 90 Day Fiancé:
"So what it is it's where you have 90 days to bring someone from another country... and then you have 90 days to marry them or else they don't get their citizenship. ... It's called a K1 visa. And there's a lot of couples that, I'm going to be honest, you're not even pulling for, at all. Like the whole time you're like go back to your country no matter how horrible it seemed."
Okay, so her law isn't quite right. But it could be interesting. Here's the official promo:
Hm. I think I'll take a hard pass. But maybe it's just the thing for your NYE recovery efforts.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
“Exodus,” a two-hour FRONTLINE special, tells the first-person stories of refugees and migrants fleeing war, persecution and hardship — drawing on footage filmed by the families themselves as they leave their homes on dangerous journeys in search of safety and refuge in Europe. “Exodus” premieres Tues., Dec. 27, 2016 at a special time — 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST.
Meredith Blake for the Los Angeles Times reviews the show.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
As an actor, he was best known for “Growing Pains,” the multi-camera family comedy that aired on ABC from 1985 to 1992. Thicke played Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist and patriarch of a Long Island family. Working out of the family’s home after his wife went back to work as a reporter, Seaver balanced his professional duties with his role caring for the couple’s three children. Thicke starred alongside Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, and later a young Leonardo DiCaprio.
Born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario in 1947, Thicke attended the University of Western Ontario after graduating from secondary school. Thicke came to U.S. television after having risen to prominence as a host and frequent talk-show guest in his native Canada.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
I'm sure your plans for the evening can be postponed. Take a night to enjoy Broadway.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
The fight over family detention centers is a short (5:30) CNN report that could be used in class to spark conversation about family detention. It helpfully includes still shots of a family detention center (inside and out), closeups of ankle monitoring devices, and video from a community shelter for refugees.
Immprof Denise Gilman (UT) was interviewed by CNN and appears prominently in the video. In the written version of the report, she offers this excellent quote: "Under US asylum law, the way you seek refugee status is to come to the US... That is provided for in the law. That is not law breaking." In the video, she argues that the current carceral setting is not appropriate for "traumatized women and children."
I've got it flagged for my Spring class!
Friday, November 4, 2016
Shane Bauer in Mother Jones goes undercover with a border militia -- and we all should be concerned:
"I crawl out of the back of the pickup with my rifle in hand. "Keep your weapons nice and tight," Captain Pain orders. I am traveling light. Unlike the others, I don't view southern Arizona as a war zone, so I didn't put steel plates in my chest rig. Next to everyone else's commando-style AR-15s, my Ruger Mini-14 with a wood stock is slightly out of place. But everything else is square—I'm wearing a MultiCam uniform, desert tan combat boots, and a radio on my shoulder. I fit in just fine. We are in a Walmart parking lot in Nogales. Captain Pain and a couple of others go into the store to get supplies. In Pain's absence, Showtime is our commanding officer. He is a Marine special-ops veteran who did three tours in Afghanistan. He has camo paint on his face and a yeti beard. He gets in the cab to check Facebook on his phone while Destroyer, Jaeger, Spartan, and I stand with our backs to the truck, rifles in hand, keeping watch for anything suspicious. The Mexican border is three miles away."
Monday, October 31, 2016
Kelefa Sanneh in the October 31 New Yorker offers a balanced summary over the U.S. debates over immigration. I have some quibbles, including treating pundit Ann Coulter as if she were as scholarly a commentator on immigration as philosopher Joseph Carens.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
CNN reports that actress Lindsay Lohan has been helping Syrian refugees in Turkey. The actress is the brand ambassador for the blue caffeine lemonade Mintanine, which has partnered with her to aid refugees. The German company behind the drink, YNDA GmbH, said in a statement it has been working with Lohan since September. The "Mean Girls" star has been sharing images on social media of herself interacting with Syrian refugees and aid workers in Turkey.
Friday, October 28, 2016
We have just finished principal photography on a fiction feature film that aims to humanize some aspects of the immigration debate now raging, especially around the separation of families. "Collisions" is an engaging and entertaining story that is part buddy film, part road movie, and part “reverse coming of age story”. We are raising money for post production - $30,000 gets us to a complete cut of the film!
Why are we making this film?
When I began work on the script, my wife was a third grade teacher, and a child in her class recently had her father taken away and deported. It took weeks of building trust to find out why this girl, previously bright and engaged in class, was suddenly listless and prone to anger or tears at the slightest provocation. I interviewed her as part of my research. Her sadness, but also her bravery, hit me in the gut in a way that no headline or statistic ever could.
Immigration recently became one of the hottest topics with Obama’s executive action to stop the deportation of parents with US citizen children. Unfortunately this action has been blocked by a recent Supreme Court decision. The debate will reach fever pitch when the film is released in 2017, as the newly elected president has to decide whether to revoke the executive action. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of families continue to be forcibly separated every year. This film can be a focal point for those trying to understand the real families affected.
When twelve-year-old Itan, straight-A-smart, comes home from school in San Francisco, she is stunned to find their furniture up-ended, and no trace of her mother Yoana. Child Protective Services dumps Itan and her six-year-old brother Neto with their estranged uncle Evencio, a big rig truck driver. Itan can't stand him. He's arrogant, unreliable, and probably criminal. After a desperate search, Itan locates Yoana in an immigration detention center in Arizona and convinces Evencio to take them there.
They are propelled onto the road in Evencio’s truck, through the maddening labyrinth of immigration detention. Itan fights to free her mother before she is deported. But her mother keeps slipping from her grasp, as she is transferred from prison to prison. Their journey takes them through the deserts of the southern border, to sprawling truck stops, border patrol offices and secret immigration prisons.
In the close quarters of Evencio's truck cab, Itan and Neto begin to bring a better man out of Evencio. But Evencio abandons them just when it seems they have a chance of stopping their mother's deportation. Are they now truly on their own? Or will Evencio come through and reunite the family?
Well, now the musical is coming to you. On Tuesday December 13, it will be aired on big screens (aka in movie theaters) around the nation. Tickets are on sale now.
Here's a clip to whet your appetite. It's called Paradise, and it's a satire about the benefits of living in the Heart Mountain internment camp and the gall of being asked to complete questionnaires designed to suss out the residents' true allegiances.
If you watch the clip, you'll hear them mention Tule Lake (around 1:20). It's where they sent detainees who were determined to be national security threats. Do read the Maurice Roberts piece on his work as a post-war Tule Lake adjudicator. It will really frame the musical for you.
Monday, October 24, 2016
In this "60 Minutes" segment, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson explains the government's "thorough" vetting process for Syrian refugees. It sounds pretty thorough to me but apparently is not the "extreme vetting" called for by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
From Jonás Cuarón and Alfonso Cuarón, the acclaimed filmmakers of Gravity, comes a unique, modern vision of terror. Desierto is a visceral, heart-pounding suspense-thriller packed with tension and suspense from start to finish, starring Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries and Y Tu Mamá También) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen). What begins as a hopeful journey to seek a better life becomes a harrowing and primal fight for survival when a deranged, rifle-toting vigilante chases a group of unarmed men and women through the treacherous U.S.-Mexican border. In the harsh, unforgiving desert terrain, the odds are stacked firmly against them as they continuously discover there’s nowhere to hide from the unrelenting, merciless killer.
The film, which is in American theaters now, attempts to humanize immigrants, something that is quite different than what Donald Trump does in his anti-immigration rhetoric. For a review in TIME, click here.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Donald Trump is making news again. Can his campaign recover? WARNING: This story contains graphic language. Donald Trump bragged about trying to have sex with a married woman and being able to grope women in previously unaired footage from 2005.
CNN ("Donald Trump to Howard Stern: It's okay to call my daughter a 'piece of ass'" )later reported on sexual banter between radio shock jock Howard Stern, with audio clips, and Trump over a number of years.