TAMIU Faculty Member's Festival-Bound
Film Shows Migrant Trek Troubles
For one Texas A&M International University faculty member, the nation's
ongoing immigration reform tensions have special significance.
Marcela Moran, TAMIU visiting assistant professor of communication and independent
filmmaker, documented human rights violations toward Central American migrants
traveling through Mexico in a 10-minute digital documentary.
short film, "Casa del Migrante," has been accepted
for inclusion in the April New York City Downtown Short Film Festival and
in Austin's 9th Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival.
documentary includes first-hand accounts of the migrants' plights as they
travel to the US-Mexico border and was shot entirely in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas,
Moran said hearing and filming the migrants' stories was often emotionally
"I heard about the arduous journeys migrants undertake and through the film
I hoped to raise awareness about the challenges they faced, but I was
moved at a much deeper level, the kind of gut-wrenching that occurs when empathy
and sympathy blend," Moran said.
"Through the interviews, I learned
about the migrants' travels, their encounters with Mexican authorities, and
their hopes and dreams for a future in the United States. They report being
in constant danger and of abuses committed by Mexican authorities during their
Moran said she believes that one of the roles of a documentary filmmaker
is to "voice for the voiceless."
"One of the most important
roles of independent films has been to give a voice to people and
issues not usually explored in mainstream movies. Casa Del Migrante
essentially gives voice to the migrants who have no voice in their
own countries, who are violated during their travels through Mexico
and, should they ever make it to the US, continue to live in fear
of deportation. This documentary is particularly relevant during
the current national debate on immigration reform. For the first
time, illegal immigrants are participating in protests and demonstrations,
arguing for their rights as human beings.
"This is truly an
amazing time for migrants and we feel fortunate to have the opportunity
to screen this documentary in major U.S. cities at such a pivotal
time. It's our hope that it helps to raise awareness, promote
change and perhaps help improve the quality of life for the migrant, wherever
he or she chooses to live.
Moran and her sister, Alejandra, produced
the film. Moran edited the selection with production crew members including
TAMIU student Fernando Silva and Nuevo Laredo residents Javier Peña,
and Shere Pingel.
Moran is currently planning local showings of "Casa
del Migrante" for
the near future.
She will travel to the Cine Las Americas
showing in Austin, April 19-23. The New York City Downtown Short Film
Festival will take place April 24-28.
For more information on the festivals,
visit their respective sites at: http://www.duotheater.org/ and http://www.cinelasamericas.org/
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