Monday, September 19, 2016

TV Writers Win Emmy For Episode About Immigrant Parents

Yang and Aziz from the Peabody Awards

Writer/actor Aziz Ansari and writer Alan Yang won an emmy last night for their show Master of None (streaming on Netflix). They were specifically honored for their episode "Parents," which is all about immigrant parents and their children.

Yang has said of the episode: "that was really meaningful to us because it felt like a story that we hadn't seen told that much on TV before."

Last night, Yang had this to say: "Asian parents out there... if you could just do me a favor, just a couple of you: get your kids cameras instead of violins. We'll be all good."

You can check out the episode for yourself on Netflix. It's Season 1, Episode 2.


September 19, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

At the Movies: Lupe Under the Sun


Lupe Under The Sun A portrait of migrant farmworkers grappling with the faultlines of the American Dream

Director Rodrigo Reyes,. Producer Su Kim, 78 Minutes, 2016 In Spanish and English / Spanish Subtitles

Long estranged from his family in Michoacán, migrant laborer Lupe finds relief from the backbreaking work of harvesting peaches in California’s Central Valley through beer- drenched camaraderie and a quiet love affair with fellow immigrant Gloria. Soon the stability of his daily routine begins to crack under the weight of a life scarred with regret and missed opportunities. Filmed in a classic neorealist style, director Rodrigo Reyes’s deeply moving debut fiction feature, inspired by the life of his own grandfather, is at once an intimately drawn meditation on life’s missed chances and a tale of the universal struggles of immigrants. Winner of Film Independent’s Canon Filmmaker Award, Reyes’s unforgettable film heralds the arrival of an important new voice in American cinema.

Watch the trailer for the film at the link above.


September 15, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

At the Movies: Purgatorio: A unique cinematic experience to take us deep into the heart of the US-Mexico border



Purgatorio:  A unique cinematic experience to take us deep into the heart of the US-Mexico border

Rodrigo Reyes’ provocative essay film re-imagines the Mexico/U.S. border as a mythical place comparable to Dante’s purgatory. Leaving politics aside, he takes a fresh look at the brutal beauty of the border and the people caught in its spell. By capturing a stunning mosaic of compelling characters and broken landscapes that live on the US/Mexico border, the filmmaker reflects on the flaws of human nature and the powerful absurdities of the modern world. An unusual border film, in the auteur tradition of camerastylo, Purgatorio ultimately becomes a fable of humanity, an epic and visceral experience with powerful and lingering images. 

Click here for  more on the film.


September 14, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day Movie: The Hand That Feeds (Documentary 2015)


The Hand That Feeds

Shy sandwich-maker Mahoma López unites his undocumented immigrant coworkers to fight abusive conditions at a popular New York restaurant chain.

At a popular bakery café, residents of New York's Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. But behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick. Mild-mannered sandwich maker Mahoma López has never been interested in politics, but in January 2012, he convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back.

Risking deportation and the loss of their livelihood, the workers team up with a diverse crew of innovative young organizers and take the unusual step of forming their own independent union, launching themselves on a journey that will test the limits of their resolve. In one roller-coaster year, they must overcome a shocking betrayal and a two-month lockout. Lawyers will battle in back rooms, Occupy Wall Street protesters will take over the restaurant, and a picket line will divide the neighborhood. If they can win a contract, it will set a historic precedent for low-wage workers across the country. But whatever happens, Mahoma and his coworkers will never be exploited again.

Directed by Rachel Lears, Robin Blotnick
Executive Producer: Alex Rivera
Co-Producer: Patricia Benabe
Director of Photography: Rachel Lears
Editors: Robin Blotnick, David Meneses
Original Score: Ryan Blotnick
Executive Producer for LPB: Sandie Viquez Pedlow
A production of Jubilee Films in association with Latino Public Broadcasting, Chicken & Egg Pictures and Vineyard Point Productions with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting


September 5, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

First Generation

First Generation is a documentary that follows four high school students - an inner city athlete, a small town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer, and the daughter a migrant field worker (with a deported dad) - each of whom wants to be the first member of their family to go to college. 

The movie is uniquely beneficial for non-first-generation professors. It offers insight into the tremendous hurdles faced by our first generation students.

And, of course, there's the heart-wrenching immigration story embedded in there. Not to give too much away, but what's an ambitious high school senior to do when the family is thinking about relocating to Mexico because of dad's deportation?

There's a three hour version of the film, and a one hour version. I'll be honest, I took the 60 minutes route. It's free. You can watch it here:



September 4, 2016 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nation Awaits Explanation of Melania Trump's Immigration to US


The 2016 Presidential campaign has been focused this week on Donald Trump's visit with the President of Mexico and his immigration speech in Arizona. 

Philip Bump of the The Washington Post reminds us that, just a few weeks ago, Trump pledged that his wife, Melania, a native of Slovenia, would hold a news conference explaining how she managed to navigate the onerous process of getting a green card. He made the pledge after a number of outlets raised questions about the timeline of her entry into the country.  Bunp explains"It's not clear what visa Trump used to enter the country and how it related to her work experience — but she asserts that she has always been in full compliance with immigration laws. If that's not true, it's a problem."

When is that press conference?


September 4, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

At the Movies: Viva Los Icons: A Documentary


We all have heard the words "Build a Wall!"
In the past year or so more and more discriminatory policies have been adopted, like the banning of Chicano Studies In Phoenix or the racist text book that will soon be available in all Texas Schools

This is where our documentary comes in

1463769371-long live the icons

Viva Los Icons is a documentary by Eduardo A. Tobias that will celebrate the positive contributions of Chicano Art and the importance of Chicano Studies

Viva los Icons is a traveling documentary that follows Jesse Borrego and Adan Hernandez and they teach our youth about the contirbutions of Chicanos in the Arts. It will shed a light into the importance of Chicano Studies and Chicano contributions to our country.

 On our Journey to Albuqerque, New Mexico, I decided to ask the question that has been the fuel behind The Chicano movement and this documentary. "What does it mean to be Chicano?" As a young filmmaker from San Antonio, Texas; I have never had the pleasure of being able to identify myself as Mexican, or American. I have been stuck somewhere in the abyss, with no identity.

Growing up, my school textbooks never taught me about the history behind the Chicano civil rights movements, the pride that flows from generation to generation, and the remnants of our culture that still remain through the lands of Aztlan. It has become my mission to further my education through the Chicanos I meet and to use my art to help get their Untold Stories out to the mainstream public.

Our main goal is to enlighten the world on the Chicano Icons that had to endure oppression, which has allowed the youth of today to stand on the shoulders of their Chicano ancestors.

The best way to share stories, is through the ART! 


August 27, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Enforcement and Removal Operations - An Introduction

Anglo Attitudes, Latino Segregation in the OC


This story in the Orange County Weekly highlights the result of a new UCLA study showing that, even with rising diversity, Orange County, California isn't becoming as integrated as one would hope when it comes to Latina/os.


Celia Lacayo, a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA's Institute of American Cultures, surveyed 40 white Orange County residents.  Chosen at random, the whites surveyed ranged from 25 to 61, with most being middle- to upper-class professionals. They split almost evenly along political lines. All but two already lived in mostly white neighborhoods.

Some of the survey responsess were revealing.  The Respondents frequently expressed that they felt most comfortable in homogenous white areas. Lola, a 25-year-old director of marketing, stated:

Obviously, I wouldn’t feel comfortable living in a neighborhood that was mostly Hispanic. I would feel completely out of place. I would much rather live in a neighborhood that was predominantly white. I think . . . being around people that kind of look like each other . . . I mean, it goes back to having the same type of background.

Mark, a 42-year-old owner of a repo company, stated:

Hispanics, they just don’t fit in. The Mexicans go to the beach, and I don’t know why they always swim in their clothes. That’s always pondered me; but they’ll walk on the sand,  they’ll stay on the boardwalk, and they’ll stop right in the middle of the boardwalk and they’ll drag their boogie board or their cooler. They have a wet dirty blanket and they’ll drag it; and they’ll stop on the boardwalk. They’ll just stop there. And it’s like get out of the way. How stupid are you? It’s like you’re a nuisance. Get out of here.



August 24, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Nigerian man making Africans laugh

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Donald: Melania Trump to Hold Press Conference on Her Immigration Story

225px-Melania_Trump_2011 330px-Donald_Trump_March_2015

The controversy surrounding gaps in Melania Trump's immigration story continues. 

CNN reports that Donald Trump announced late yesterday that his wife will hold a news conference "over the next couple of weeks" to address reports that she violated immigration laws when she first came to the U.S.  Trump said his wife would prove that "she came in totally legally."

The New York Post last week published photos of Melania Trump in 1995, quickly raising questions about whether the former model had obtained the appropriate visa to work as a model in the United States. 
The Republican nominee floated the upcoming news conference just hours after he stoked yet another controversy by suggesting that gun owners could take action to stop rival Hillary Clinton from appointing judges who would infringe Second Amendment rights, should she be elected president.

August 10, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Farewell Ferris Wheel: A Documentary about Migrant Carnival Workers

You might want to think twice before you take the kids to the next local fair or carnival. This fall, PBS will air Farewell Ferris Wheel, which premiered earlier this summer during the local  AFI DOCS Film Festival.  This is a must-see film for anyone with an interest in labor rights and the U.S.'s dependence on immigrant workers.
Farewell Ferris Wheel spends six years exploring how the U.S. Carnival industry fights to keep itself alive by legally employing Mexican migrant workers with H-2B guestworker visas.

Set in the greater DC area, the documentary follows seasonal workers from Veracruz, Mexico on temporary U.S. work visas (H-2Bs).  For eight months each year, the Mexicans labor for "Jolly Shows", a company operating carnivals in the region. 

Farewell Ferris Wheel introduces audiences to both sides of the labor shortage. 

The job is grueling. Employees, separated from family, work up to 20 hours per day setting-up, operating, and taking down the rides and equipment.  They are paid little and subjected to squalid living conditions, including lack of running water and electricity.  When on-the-job injuries happen, Jolly Shows is reluctant to assist with medical care.  Nevertheless, the workers return year after year.  We learn that nearly one-third of U.S. carnival workers hail from Tlapacoyan, Mexico.

Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.(CDM), a close friend of Grossman Law, and a reputable local non-profit organization with offices in Mexico, is featured in the Film for its advocacy for increased oversight of the carnival industry.



August 1, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lena Dunham And America Ferrera Slam Trump At Democratic Convention


At the Democratic Convention yesterday, Hillary Clinton was nominated for President.  In one of the speeches in support of Clinton, Lena Dunham And America Ferrera slammed Donald Trump.  For what it is worth, Ferrara was born in Los Angeles and her parents are from Honduras.

Best line of the speech:  "Look," America said, "Donald's not making America great again. He's making America hate again. And the vast majority of us, we cannot afford to see his vision of America come to be." 


July 27, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Aboard a Mediterranean rescue ship, migrants share horror stories from Libya

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Movie Review: The Immigrant (on Netflix and DVD)

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 3.32.00 PM

I give it 1.5 stars

The Immigrant, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, is now streaming on Netflix. You might be tempted to watch it. Save yourself almost two hours and just watch the first six minutes.

The story involves a young Polish woman, Ewa, coming to the United States with her sister in the early 1920s. The sister is detained for being a TB risk. Ewa is initially marked for deportation as a woman suspected of low moral virtue. But she's "rescued" by an American man who turns out to be a pimp. Ewa becomes a prostitute, hoping to save enough money to free her sister from Ellis Island.

Joaquin Phoenix is great. He does crazed pimp oddly well. But overall the movie offers little for the immprof after the first six minutes. (Frankly, it offers little for any movie watcher immprof or not. It's just not a great movie).

As for those few nuggets, check out 1:04-3:13, which shows the sister being screened and taken away for TB treatment and 3:63-5:57, which shows Ewa's initial screening.

The biggest plus to clicking on and watching that intro materials is that Neflix will then make a series of recommendations for you of other immigrant movies. Score.


Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 3.32.36 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 3.31.27 PM    

July 14, 2016 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Immigrant of the Day: Luis Enrique, Singer (Nicaragua)


Luis Enriqueis a Nicaraguan-born singer and composer. He attended high School in Whittier, California, near Los Angeles. He started his career in the late 1980s and achieved success in the 1990s earning the title "El Príncipe de la Salsa" (The Prince of Salsa). Enrique was a pioneer in the salsa romántica movement of the 1980s. He received two Grammy Award-nomination for "Best Tropical Latin Performance" for album Luces del Alma and his song Amiga. In 2009, his album, Ciclos, was nominated for numerous Latin Grammy Awards. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album.

Enrique immigrated to the United States in 1978  He will be sharing his story as an undocumented immigrant in the United States in an upcoming book, Enrique will tell of his personal journey from Nicaragua to making a home in L.A. He was undocumented for about 10 years. 



July 10, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Immigrant of the Day: Liam Neeson (Northern Ireland)


Liam Neeson is an actor from Northern Ireland.  Neeson rose to prominence when he starred in the title role in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar winner Schindler's List. He has since starred in many other successful films, including Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).  In more recent years, Neeson has starred in the action thriller series Taken (2008–15). He has been nominated for a number of awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Neeson and his family are New Yorkers.  In 2009, Neeson revealed on ABC's Good Morning America that he had recently naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Interviewer Diane Sawyer asked Neeson how he and the boys had been getting along since Natasha Richardson's death. Neeson responded:

"I'm still getting extraordinary condolence letters from American people, that's deeply, deeply touching. And that's partly the reason why I've recently become an American citizen. I've been living here for 20 years and America's been very, very good to me. I'm still a proud Irishman, of course, but I've become an American citizen and I'm very proud of that."

July 5, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fox Sports takes reporter Emily Austen off the air after racist remarks


Cindy Boren of the Washington Post reports that Emily Austen, a Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports Sun sideline reporter who covers the Tampa Bay Rays and Orlando Magic, has been taken off the air after making derogatory, racist and anti-Semitic remarks on Barstool Sports' "Rundown" show this week.   Austen disparaged Mexican, Chinese and Jewish people, as well as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, on the daily show broadcast on Facebook Live.  Asked about a high school valedictorian who said on Twitter that she was an undocumented immigrant, Austen said: "I didn't even know Mexicans were that smart. . . .That's f---- up. I didn't mean it like that. You see, you guys know that the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class." 

The above is an excerpt of the video, the entirety which can be found on Vimeo.


Emily Austen


June 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Slam Poet George Masao Yamazawa Nails What It's Like to Be a Child of Immigrants


National Poetry Slam Champion George Masao Yamazawa is the son of Japanese immigrants — but he doesn't know how to speak Japanese. Thus, he's afraid of being the "broken chain" in his family's lineage. 

In his poem "The Bridge," which Yamazawa performed at a slam poetry competition in December, he captured the identity crises many immigrants face in America. 

Read more on this story here.


May 29, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How a Bill Becomes a Wall

A must-see video from CNN:



May 10, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)