Thursday, November 28, 2013
Before the inaugeration, Award-winning actress Eva Longoria told “This Week” that immigration reform should be a top priority in President Obama’s second term. “People say, ‘Oh, get in the back of the line,’ [but] people don’t realize there’s a hundred lines to get into,” said Longoria of the immigration process. ”It’s a very broken system.”
Monday, November 25, 2013
The new release Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an action-packed escape vehicle. A government to be paranoid of, athletic (kind of anyway) competition, a rebellion, what else could you want in a movie?
The Hunger Games has been involed in discussions of immigration. Last summer, a crackdown on immigration, in which 140 people were arrested in the United Kingdom, was likened to "The Hunger Games" after the Home Office was accused of targeting people based on their ethnicity before arresting them.
A few years ago, Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum caused controversy when he suggested that a real-life Hunger Games could solve U.S. immigration problems. The Hunger Games tells of a young womanl who is forced by an oppressive government to take part in a televised battle to the death with other “tributes.” In an interview with conservative host Sean Hannity, Santorum spoke at length about the popular series as well as a proposed immigration act which would give 24 contestants the opportunity to earn U.S. citizenship.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Here is the music video for the hit song “Wake Me Up.” A collaboration with singer Aloe Blacc, Director Alex Rivera, and some friends that star as actors, the video tells a story of one family whose dream to be together confronts the nightmare of US immigration policy.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Entertainment Weekly reports that comedian Russell Brand said he was denied entry into South Africa, forcing him to cancel four shows of his Messiah Complex tour scheduled to be performed in Johannesburg. An example of good taste?
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
AL JAZEERA AMERICA PRESENTS TO AIR TWO AMERICANS SUNDAY, OCT. 27 Documentary Examines Both Sides of the Immigration Debate
Two Americans portrays the emotional and economic turmoil that raids and subsequent deportations have on the families of undocumented workers, and the law enforcement officials whose job it is to arrest them. Two Americans follows the story of one such family - and the sheriff who is enforcing the law. Filmmakers Daniel DeVivo and Valeria Fernandez’s film profiles a family who is forced to live in the shadows in Arizona, a state that criminalizes their existence. Nine-year-old Katherine Figueroa’s parents are arrested when Sheriff Joe Arpaio raids a Phoenix carwash suspected of hiring illegal workers. As Katherine fights to save her parents from deportation, a community group pressures an investigation into sheriff’s actions. The sheriff’s retaliation sparks public outrage and a federal investigation. Two Americans showcases both sides of one of America’s most polarizing issues and provides an in-depth look at how immigration policy is affecting families and communities.Watch Two Americans on Al Jazeera America Presents Sunday, Oct. 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Last week, Pulitizer Prize winning writer Jose Antonio Vargas spoke about his new film “Documented” at UC Davis School of Law. Last night, he held only his second screening of his new film in Sacramento. I was fortunate enough to attend. After Vargas introduced the film, the audience watched Documented, which tells Vargas’ very personal story about his travails as an undocumented person in the United States with “no line to wait in” for a lawful immigrant visa. One of the saddest parts of the story is that he has been separated from his mother, who still lives in the Philippines, for nearly 20 years. My rating: TWO THUMBS UP!
Among others, Sergio Garcia, the undocumented immigrant seeking admission to the California bar, also was in attendance. We sat next to each other at the movie and discussed, among other things, the recent arguments on his admission to the bar before the California Supreme Court.
I was honored to join Sergio Garcia, Jose Antonio Vargas, and other panelists in a discussion after the film about the issues of immigration law and policy that the film touched on.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
The Season 3 premier of the critically-acclaimed Showtime series Homeland airs tonight. The show, which depicts the U.S. government's efforts to protect the "homeland" against foreign -- almost exclusively Muslim -- threats to the national security, is popular among television critics but has been criticized as Islamophobic. In an article for Salon, Laila al-Arian called the show the most Islamophobic show on television, accused it of portraying Muslims under the light of simplistic concepts and as a monolithic, single-minded group whose only purpose is to hurt Americans.
It seemed like a good time for a comedic interlude. So watch this guest appearance from Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul on last night's Saturday Night Live.
By the way, the series finale of the television show Breaking Bad, the story of a milquetoast high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico who turned to the dark side in a big way, is tonight.
UPDATE (9/30): Here is the conclusion to the finale (Felina) from YouTube.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
For the next two weeks, a free online stream is available of the short documentary Frontier Youth. This thought-provoking film explores immigration and border issues on an intimate human scale. Its three characters are young people growing up in Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Mexico – neighboring border towns defined by undocumented migration and an increasingly militarized border.
Frontier Youth is unique in viewing these issues through the perspective of young adults on both sides of the border.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Katie Dellamaggiore’s Brooklyn Castle has its national broadcast premiere on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) on the award-winning PBS documentary series POV (Point of View). The film will stream on POV’s website from Oct. 8- Nov. 6, 2013. The film is part of the new PBS INDIES SHOWCASE, a four-week series of independent documentaries airing on Monday nights from Sept. 30-Oct. 21.
The late I.S. principal Fred Rubino pointed out that extracurricular activities are not really “extra,” because they teach “the whole child.” Beginning in 2000, under the tutelage of chess teacher and coach Elizabeth Spiegel and assistant principal John Galvin, the school expanded its small chess program and began competing in national tournaments. The results have been stunning: more than 30 national chess titles, including the 2012 U.S. High School National Championship, a first for a junior high.
Meet the students:
Twelve-year-old Alexis Paredes’ approach to chess is like his play—meditative and thoughtful. The second-ranked player at I.S. 318, he sees chess as a way to an education and a lucrative career that will allow him to support his Paraguayan immigrant family.
Justus Williams, 11 years old, is a prodigy, already one of America’s highest-ranked young chess players. Yet he is plagued by a tendency to freeze, stymied by the expectations created by his success.
Thirteen-year-old Rochelle Ballantyne, who broke the gender line of what had been an all-boys chess club, has the potential to become the first African-American female master in the history of chess. She is the first-ranked player in the school.
Pobo Efekoro, 12, is the big, boisterous, warm-hearted leader of the team. When the school’s budget for afterschool programs is cut, he runs for school president with the goal of mobilizing a student protest to get the cuts restored.
Patrick Johnston, 11, is a sensitive beginner who wants to raise his ranking to middle level. He has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and has taken to chess to develop concentration and patience.
For these kids, chess is more than a game, and winning is more than a matter of trophies. Brooklyn Castle is a clear-eyed look at a school program that has made a huge difference to students. It is equally a celebration of youth’s determination to dream, if given the chance.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Behind our world-famous beaches, tourist attractions and sunny suburbs lies an alarming secret: Tampa Bay is a hotbed for human trafficking. Men, women and children are forced against their will to serve in the sex trade, domestic servitude and agricultural industries. They are bought, sold and discarded in our own community, making Florida the third-highest ranked state in the nation for this fast-growing crime.
Join us for an in-depth look at this crisis with TOO CLOSE TO HOME, a WEDU documentary on human trafficking in Tampa Bay. Local law enforcement, service providers and citizens are creating a grass roots movement to help combat this form of modern-day slavery. The documentary will be followed by TOO CLOSE TO HOME: A Roundtable Discussion, which delves further into specific local efforts to help human trafficking victims in Tampa Bay. The issues of safe housing, public health, funding and state legislation will be addressed to recognize the special needs of victims and educate the community on the many ways it can help.
LATINO AMERICANS is the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S. The changing and yet repeating context of American history provides a backdrop for the drama of individual lives. It is a story of immigration and redemption, of anguish and celebration, of the gradual construction of a new American identity that connects and empowers millions of people today.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Hundreds of migrants die every year along the U.S.-Mexico border. Others are trying to save their lives. This is their story.
"We Have a Wall: Saving Lives on the Tinaja Trail" is the story of undocumented migration and humanitarian service, told from the perspectives of four undocumented immigrants (three of whom have recently been deported to Mexico and one who chose to return to Mexico voluntarily after working in Los Angeles for a number of years), as well as the volunteers who place water, food, and first aid supplies along the migratory trails in attempts to save the lives of some of the hundreds of migrants who die every year crossing into the United States from Mexico.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Mystery, intrigue and suspense are just some of the things that viewers can expect from Lifetime’s new two-hour made-for-TV original movie "Baby Sellers," set to air Aug. 17, at 8 p.m. EST. In the movie, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Nic Morrison, played by Jennifer Finnigan, stumbles upon an international human trafficking ring, which specializes in selling infants. According to Lifetime, Baby Sellers exposes "the dark international crime enterprise of infant trafficking..." Carla Huxley, played by Kirstie Alley, is "a well-respected, influential owner of a major U.S.-based adoption agency... Morrison... believes Huxley is fueling a global business that stops at nothing to find the right child for the right owner – at the right price – and goes undercover to bring her sordid operation down."
ICE has stated that it is serious about ending human trafficking, and considers it as one of the most heinous crimes that it investigates. In its worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. Victims can find themselves forced into prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude. Much like the movie Baby Sellers, in certain cases, the victims are mere children. They find themselves surrounded by an unfamiliar culture and language without identification documents, fearing for their lives and the lives of their families. ICE relies on tips from the public to dismantle these organizations. ICE encourages the public to look and listen for suspicious activity. Trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight, voiceless and scared.
Baby Sellers is Executive Producer Robert Halmi Sr.’s follow-up to his 2005 Lifetime movie "Human Trafficking," which starred Mira Sorvino, Donald Sutherland and Robert Carlyle, and also featured ICE. Baby Sellers was produced by Reunion Pictures; executive produced by Halmi, Sr. and Matthew O’Connor; directed by Nick Willing; and the screenplay was written by Suzette Couture and William Gray.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Born in August 1978 in Taipei, Taiwan, Steve Chen co-launched the video-sharing website YouTube in 2005. YouTube ranked as the 10th most popular website a year after its launch.
Chen, YouTube’s chief technology officer, was named to 2006’s “The 50 People Who Matter Now” list by Business 2.0 magazine. That same year, Google bought YouTube for $1.64 billion in stock.
Raised in Taiwan, Chen and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 15.After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chen worked at PayPal, where he met Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. In 2005, the three founded YouTube, which quickly became one of the web's fastest-growing sites and was ranked as the 10th most popular website just a year after its launch.
Monday, July 8, 2013
The Bridge, which premieres on FX on July 10, is a present-day crime thriller exploring the tensions on the U.S.-Mexico border. When an American judge known for her anti-immigration views is found dead on the bridge connecting El Paso and Juarez, Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) from El Paso PD must work with her Mexican counterpart from Chihuahua State Police, Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir), to catch a serial killer operating on both sides of the border. Marco understands the slippery politics of Mexican law enforcement, and while his police force slowly succumbs to the pressures and demands of the cartel, he’s one of the last good men in the department. He’s charming, but also cunning as he will do whatever it takes to get what he needs. This does not sit well with Sonya, who has Asperger’s and strictly follows rules as well as protocol. Her candid and off-putting personality fuels an unforgiving drive for truth. The case quickly pulls them into a string of murders on the border, a scene already consumed by illegal immigration, drug trafficking, violence and prostitution.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Born in London, Samantha Eggar (born 5 March 1939) is a film, television and voice actress. She began her acting career in several Shakespearean companies, and debuted on film in 1962 in The Wild and the Willing. Eggar starred in the comedy Walk Don't Run (1966) with Cary Grant in his last picture and Jim Hutton, father of actor Timothy Hutton. She received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Collector (1965), directed by William Wyler. She won a Golden Globe award for this performance and was also named Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.
Eggar has appeared as the wife of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's brother Robert in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.