TAMIU Faculty Member’s Film to NYC, Austin Film Fests

TAMIU Faculty Member's Festival-Bound
Film Shows Migrant Trek Troubles

Marcela Moran, TAMIU visiting professorFor 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.

The resulting 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.

The 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, Mexico.

Moran said hearing and filming the migrants' stories was often emotionally wrenching.
"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 journey," she continued.

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/

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