TAMIU Faculty Member Receives Austin Film Society
Fund Grant for Documentary Film 'Jornaleros'

Marcela Moran
Marcela Morán

Marcela Morán, assistant professor of communication at Texas A&M International University was awarded a Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund (TFPF) grant from the Austin Film Society, which assisted in the production of the documentary film entitled, “Jornaleros.”

Morán’s project has taken her to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and parts of South Texas, in search of jornaleros, or day laborers skilled in different trades looking for jobs on the streets, and of undocumented immigrants already working. The film explores human rights violations against day laborers and the criminalization of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“I feel very honored to have received this funding as I was one of 24 out of 183 applicants chosen for the 2010 TFPF,” Morán said, “It is highly competitive, and the committee that chooses winners is made up of talented filmmakers and past recipients.”

The Austin Film Society awards grants once a year to emerging film and video artists in the State of Texas through its TFPF, the Society’s website says. Awards are provided to artists whose work shows promise, skill and creativity. TFPF recipients have shown their films at renowned festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, Tribecca, Slamdance and SXSW and have been nominated for Gotham Awards and won Independent Spirit Awards and Student Academy Awards.

The idea of interviewing jornaleros emerged after Morán’s producer and collaborator, Maritza Bautista, a TAMIU alum, brought the subject to her attention based on her past experiences of working closely with day laborers while living in Chicago.

Morán said she and Bautista established contacts in most of the cities where they conducted interviews.
“Upon arrival, we would make additional contacts,” she said, “At times, we would just show up to a specific location, like a Home Depot parking lot in Chicago and spend hours talking to people and getting to know them before they agree to be interviewed and participate in the project.”

Artists, educators, activists and religious groups were pivotal in assisting director and producer in making connections with interview subjects, Morán said.

In addition to Bautista, a former TAMIU student, Noé Cuéllar, assisted in making the documentary as sound designer. Both were Morán’s former video production students at TAMIU. Bautista received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in studio art from TAMIU while Cuéllar transferred from the University to The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where he received his bachelor’s degree. Bautista also received her master’s degree from The School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2184, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268. University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m . Monday-Friday.

Additional information on the TFPF and 2010 winners is also available at austinfilm.org

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Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu