Thursday, February 22, 2018

Want to Show the Documentary "The Chinese Exclusion Act"? An Offer

Many of you have seen the previously posted trailer for the upcoming documentary about the Chinese Exclusion Act, which premieres on PBS on May 29.  For those who might have missed it, here it is:

 Filmmakers Ric Burns and LiShin Yu, along with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) would like to offer you a cost-free opportunity to use the film to facilitate conversations about important immigration topics. The hope is to increase understanding of the history of U.S. immigration laws, how we got to where we are today and also the immigrant experience itself.  Several campuses have already used an excerpt to encourage thoughtful discussion around the question, “Who is American?”

Ric and LiShin tailored a 38-minute excerpt specifically for these discussion purposes.  Ideally, a screening of the excerpt would be followed by a faculty-led discussion and Q & A.  The excerpt could also be used in class. The 38-minute excerpt, in DVD format, is available to you on request, at this link. Find the "Community/Educational Outreach" tab and scroll down to a form.  In the “Notes” section of the request form, write that you were referred by the Immigration Prof Blog. Please allow 3 weeks for delivery. 

There is also a Resource Kit with announcement template, sample agenda, suggested discussion points, etc. This kit is intended for those generally unfamiliar with the history and the immigration law, but you are welcome to it, also free-of-charge. Use the same request form.

This outreach effort is possible thanks to a crowdfunding effort and a series of grants.

 For further information, contact Cecilia Tso Warner at


February 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 12, 2018

New on HBO: Here and Now


Here and Now on HBO

From Oscar and Emmy winner Alan Ball (HBO’s Six Feet Under, True Blood), and starring Oscar and Golden Globe winner Tim Robbins and Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Holly Hunter, the show is a provocative and darkly comic meditation on the disparate forces polarizing present-day American culture, as experienced by the members of a progressive multi-ethnic family — a philosophy professor and his wife, their adopted children from Vietnam, Liberia and Colombia and their sole biological child — and a contemporary Muslim family, headed by a psychiatrist who is treating one of their children.

Jerrika Hinton, Daniel Zovatto, Raymond Lee, Sosie Bacon, Andy Bean, Joe Williamson and Peter Macdissi also star. Here and Now is executive produced by Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi and David Knoller.

Click here for more on Here and Now.


February 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

From the Bookshelves: Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era by Jorge Ramos

51jsrZAVmqL._SX316_BO1 204 203 200_

Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era by Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos, an Emmy award-winning journalist, Univision’s longtime anchorman and widely considered the “voice of the voiceless” within the Latino community, was forcefully removed from an Iowa press conference in 2015 by then-candidate Donald Trump after trying to ask about his plans on immigration.

In this personal manifesto, Ramos sets out to examine what it means to be a Latino immigrant, or just an immigrant, in present-day America. Using current research and statistics, with a journalist’s nose for a story, and interweaving his own personal experience, Ramos shows us the changing face of America while also trying to find an explanation for why he, and millions of others, still feel like strangers in this country.


February 11, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

More Immigration Stories Coming on Television


On the Jan. 9, 2018, episode of Freeform's "The Fosters," ICE agents arrive to arrest Ximena Sinfuego (Lisseth Chavez), who is seeking sanctuary in a church. In this behind-the-scenes photo, ICE agents speak with Stef Adams Foster (Teri Polo).Ron Tom / Freeform

We may be seeing more immigration stories on our television screens.  ABC News reportss that, with nearly half a dozen projects this pilot season that are centered on immigrant stories, writers' rooms are bringing personal stories to politics at a time when immigration reform continues to polarize Washington. 

There are two reboots on the table (sci-fi drama “Roswell,” whose new lead character is the daughter of undocumented immigrants, received a pilot order at The CW on Tuesday) along with a handful of adaptations, including “In the Country We Love,” based on actress Diane Guerrero’s memoir of the same time. The drama, which is currently being developed at Fox, will draw from Guerrero’s experiences.

A media guide compiled last year by Define American, a nonprofit whose work aims to inform conversations about immigration in the U.S., noted many Americans rely on television and film to shape their understanding of the world. But the majority of immigrant characters and stories told on television between 2014 and 2016 involved criminal activity, according to research from The Opportunity Agenda — particularly those involving Latino, black, or Middle Eastern immigrants.



February 1, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

At the Movies: Human Flow - Coming Soon To Prime [HD] | Amazon Studios (2:28)


Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II.  Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. 

Captured over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey.  Human Flow is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future. Human Flow comes at a crucial time when tolerance, compassion and trust are needed more than ever.  This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that will define this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity?  

Amazon Studios and Participant Media present, in association with AC Films, Human Flow, a film directed by Ai Weiwei.  Human Flow is produced by Ai Weiwei, Chin-Chin Yap and Heino Deckert and executive produced by Andrew Cohen of AC Films with Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann of Participant Media.

 140 Minutes

 Press Kit


January 16, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Back to the Future: Falling Down, The Movie (1993)


The 1993 Movie Falling Down stars Michael Douglas.  An unemployed defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them.  The film stars Michael Douglas in the lead role of William Foster, a divorced and unemployed former defense engineer. The film centers on Foster as he treks on foot across the city of Los Angeles, trying to reach the house of his estranged ex-wife in time for his daughter's birthday party. Along the way, a series of encounters, both trivial and provocative, cause him to react with increasing violence and make sardonic observations on life, poverty, the economy, and commercialism.

As President Trump talks about different groups of people, I am often reminded of the film.


January 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Sign of the Times -- News Headline: "Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘s-------’ countries

reports for the Washington Post that President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers this week in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.
“Why are we having all these people from s------- countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.
Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.
In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” 
Needless to say, President Trump's reported comments have provoked controversy


The remarks also provided fodder for late night television.


January 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Immigration Debate 2017 in a Pictorial Nutshell

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Migrant Kitchen


The Migrant Kitchen

"The Migrant Kitchen" is an Emmy®-winning food series that explores Los Angeles’ booming food scene through the eyes of a new generation of chefs whose cuisine is inspired by the immigrant experience. Visit the kitchens of those who have transformed the culinary landscape of the city, combining traditional ethnic cuisines and a fusion of new flavors and techniques to make Los Angeles one of the food capitals of the world."The Migrant Kitchen" is produced in association with Life & Thyme.

The website has stories like this one, Vietnamese Immigration and Its Culinary Influence on the United States.



December 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Food and Drinks | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 25, 2017

MacArthur Grant Will Create ‘Sesame Street’ for Syrian Refugees


Great news!  Earlier this week, the MacArthur Foundation has awarded $100 million to Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee to create early childhood development programs for Syrian refugees. It will focus on displaced children in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, seeking to reach them at a key time for brain development.  The five-year grant will fund a localized version of “Sesame Street,” distributed through television and digital devices, and home visits using “Sesame Street” content for an estimated 1.5 million children. Instead of the stars that Americans grew up with, like Big Bird, Elmo and Oscar the Grouch, the characters would be tailored to the region, speaking Arabic and Iraqi Kurdish.


December 25, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Immigration Story Behind The Sound of Music


The hills are alive, with the sound of music. At least they were last night when ABC aired the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music.

Did you know that the movie is fictionalized version of the memoir penned by Maria Augusta von Trapp: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Maria really was a postulate in a convent when she began caring for the seven children of the widowed naval commander Georg von Trapp. She even ran away to the abbey after the commander proposed, though she eventually married him an had three children of her own. And the family had a career singing and performing in Austria as well as the U.S. and Canada.

The family didn't run across the hills to escape the Nazis. They left the country by train. And they emigrated to Stowe, Vermont in the 1940s, where they ran a music camp. That's Maria's real certificate of entry above!

For more on the Von Trapps, check out this article from Prologue Magazine.


December 18, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

From the Bookshelves: The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe


The Newcomers:  inding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe 

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

Music Break: Jackson Browne - The Dreamer (Featuring Los Cenzontles)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Salma Hayek on Harvey Weinstein


In this New York Times piece, Mexican Actress Salma Hayek, whose work has been featured on this blog, joins the women who have horror stories of harassment at the hands of Hollywood's Harvey Weinstein.  She concludes:

"I am grateful for everyone who is listening to our experiences. I hope that adding my voice to the chorus of those who are finally speaking out will shed light on why it is so difficult, and why so many of us have waited so long. Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can."


December 13, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Global Migration Film Festival


The Global Migration Film Festival is being orchestrated by the UN's International Organization for Migration. From December 5 through the 18th, more than 30 films about migration are going to be screened in over 100 countries. If you head to this link, you can see trailers for all of the movies selected for screenings.


December 6, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: Maine Girls


Following 13 immigrant and U.S.-born teenage girls, MAINE GIRLS explores the important role that young people play in bridging cultural divides. In Maine - the whitest state in America - immigrant students are entering public schools in record numbers. But as the population increases, so does the number of hate crimes. Over the course of 8 weeks, a diverse group of girls at South Portland High School learn what it takes – and what it means – to make genuine friendships with people who don't look or live the same way that they do. Leading by example, these teenage girls pave the way for greater empathy at their school and in doing so, encourage other girls to step up and do the same in their own communities throughout the United States.

On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, which suspended the entry of immigrants from seven countries, and forced the United States to reckon with the wrenching question: can America still stand as a beacon of hope to newcomers to its shores?

In South Portland, Maine, this question was playing itself out on the streets, in homes, and even in the local high school well before Trump's election. Though, according to the US Census, despite being the “whitest” state in the nation,  immigration in Maine is on the rise and offers a fitting backdrop for this exploration of increasingly anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim time in the U.S.

Set against the backdrop of the terror attacks in Paris and the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, MAINE GIRLS follows 13 teenage girls at South Portland High School over an eight-week program of face-to-face encounters as they learn about each other, healthy eating, and hip hop. The girls, hailing from the Congo, Jamaica, Somalia, Vietnam, and Maine, begin to understand what fuels mistrust, fear and violence against recent immigrants and how to build bridges instead of barriers between different people.

A year later, following the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the filmmakers re-visit the young women to talk about the changes in their lives, school, community, and the enduring effects of participating in the program. MAINE GIRLS illuminates not just the differences between us, but inspires concrete steps for building understanding and acceptance.


December 6, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 1, 2017

At the Movies: First They Killed My Father (2017)


First They Killed My Father  Released September 2017.  Based on a book by the same title.

In the 70's, a Cambodian middle-class girl sees the lives of her family and her turning upside-down when the Khmer Rouge invades the Cambodia. They leave their comfortable apartment and lifestyle to live in a primitive working camp. Her father, a former officer, is killed and the family splits to survive.

Director Angelina Jolie explains in this interview how she was mindful of the emotions that could be evoked by the scenes she was re-creating to film "First They Killed My Father" in Cambodia. 

Here is a review in Time.


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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hollywood Goes DACA


Huffington Post reports that, since President Trump’s September decision to end DACA, Hollywood actor Bambadjan Bamba has been preparing for his coming out.

The actor had not publicly revealed his immigration status, but yesterday he joined a campaign to legalize immigrants like him, becoming the public face of DACA recipients working in Hollywood. Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program granted temporary resident status to an estimated 800,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Immigrant of the Day: Actress Eiza Gonzalez (Mexico)


Born in Mexico, Eiza González Reyna is an actress and singer. In 2007, she gained popularity for her debut role as "Lola" in the Mexican teen-oriented musical telenovela Lola...Érase una vez. She currently plays Santanico Pandemonium on the television show From Dusk till Dawn: The Series

Gonzalez appeared as "Darling" in the action film Baby Driver, released in 2017.


González moved to Los Angeles, California in 2013 to further pursue her acting career.


November 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Casablanca on its 75th Anniversary


The 1942 film classic "Casablanca” — set in WWII and filled with immigration and refugee themes -- is celebrating its 75th anniversary.  It ends as Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Capt. Renault (Claude Rains) walked into the misty night on their way to a Free French garrison and “a beautiful friendship.”

Charles Wolfe, a UC Santa Barbara professor of film and media studies, opines on the film, its meaning, and modern relevance in this article.  For an NPR story on the film's anniversary, click here.




November 23, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)