2019 NAME MC Film Festival
2019 NAME Multicultural Film Festival: Tucson Conference
ALIEN CITIZEN. Written and produced by Elizabeth Liang. Directed by Sofie Calderon. 2017. Aliencitizensoloshow.com. 50 minutes. This filmmaker will be available for a talk-back following the film.
Who are you when you’re from everywhere and nowhere? Alien Citizen is a funny and poignant one-woman show about growing up in the intersections of identity as a dual citizen of mixed heritage in Central America, North Africa, the Middle East, and New England. Elizabeth Liang, like President Obama, is a Third Culture Kid or a TCK. Third Culture Kids are the children of international business people, global educators, diplomats, missionaries, and the military -- anyone whose family has relocated overseas because of a job placement. Liang weaves humorous stories about growing up as an Alien Citizen abroad with American commercial jingles providing her soundtrack through language confusion, first love, culture shock, Clark Gable, and sandstorms. She deals with the decisions every global nomad has to make repeatedly: to adapt or to simply cope; to build a bridge or to just tolerate. From being a Guatemalan-American teen in North Africa to attending a women’s college in the USA, Alien Citizen reflects her experience that neither one was necessarily easier than the other. She realizes that girls across the world are growing into womanhood in environments that can be hostile to females (including the USA). How does a young girl cope as a border/culture/language/religion straddler in country after country that feels "other" to her when she is the “other?” Where is the line between respecting others and betraying yourself?
AMERICA, I TOO. Director: Anike Tourse. Producers: Angelica Salas, Daniel Solinger. 2017. New Day Films. www.newday.com. 20 minutes.
Young muralist Manny Santiago is arrested after being wrongfully accused of tagging his very own mural. After being unduly locked up in a holding cell overnight he learns that he was ordered removed back in 2008 due to his undocumented immigration status and that his name came up in the “gang database.” Manny insists that he was nine years old in 2008, unaware of any pending deportation, and certainly not a part of any gang. When he refuses to sign a voluntary departure form, Manny is sent into detention. Meanwhile Korean elder, Myeong Kim, is just starting her shift at the garment factory, the same factory where young pizza delivery guy, Ahmed Omar, has arrived to deliver a pizza. Both discover in horror, however, that they have walked into a setup for an immigration raid. The two bewildered and undocumented immigrants are sent to the same detention center as Manny. Manny, Myeong and Ahmed each go on to make three distinctly different journeys to stave off deportation and stay in the country. While wrestling with criminalization, humiliation and limited resources, Manny, Myeong and Ahmed each dig for their unique option for legal relief, and for the courage to fight for it. “America; I Too” is based on actual testimonies and true experiences.
AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US. Directors Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider. Producer Abby Ginzberg. 2017. Good Docs. www.gooddocs.net 50 Minutes. Discount code for NAME members: NAME-TCFU-20%
This film is a cautionary and inspiring tale for all societies. Seventy-six years ago President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, paving the way for the forced incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. And Then They Came For Us educates audiences about the constitutional damage done in the name of national security. Thousands of American citizens lost their homes, their businesses and their families due to war hysteria and racism. Yet the validity of these actions was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1944, based on governmental lies which were later uncovered. Featuring Japanese Americans who were incarcerated, rediscovered photos of Dorothea Lange and the story of Fred Korematsu’s long journey to justice, the film brings history into the present, as it follows Japanese Americans speaking out against the current Muslim travel ban and other regressive immigration policies.
BIRTH ON THE BORDER. Director: Ellie Lobovits. 2018. Women Make Movies. www.wmm.com. 28 minutes.
This intimate and personal documentary follows two women from Ciudad Juárez as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border legally to give birth in Texas, putting their hearts and bodies on the line as they confront harassment at the hands of U.S. border officials. One million people legally cross the U.S.-Mexico border every day in both directions. Among them are women who cross for the purposes of childbirth. With the threat of obstetrical violence in Mexican hospitals and the desire for natural birth with midwives, Gaby and Luisa make the difficult decision to cross the border to El Paso, seeking a safer future for their children. Even with papers, their journeys are uncertain.
THE CORRIDOR. Director & Producer Richard O’Connell and Annelise Wunderlich. Producer Linda Peckham. 2017. Good Docs. www.gooddocs.net. 55 Minutes. Special discount code for NAME members: NAME-COR-20%
This film shows the inner-workings and challenges of San Francisco’s Five Keys Charter School − the first high school of its kind in the United States that provides incarcerated adults the opportunity to earn a high school diploma to prepare them for successful reintegration into their communities. Designed upon the premise that the key to reintegration is education, Five Keys Charter School strives to create alternatives to the revolving door of incarceration. Enrollment is mandatory for all incarcerated adults who never received a high school diploma. In addition to classes that range from algebra to civics, the school also offers lessons in art and meditation. For many of the students, the experience validates their humanity. As these adults begin to think about turning their lives around, The Corridor invites viewers to ask: is education the first step along the pathway to restorative justice?
COUNCIL WOMAN. Director: Margo Guernsey. 2018. Women Make Movies. www.wmm.com. 57 minutes.
This film is the inspiring story of Carmen Castillo, an immigrant Dominican housekeeper in a Providence hotel who wins a seat in City Council, taking her advocacy for low-income workers from the margins to city politics. The film follows Castillo’s first term as she balances her full-time day job as a housekeeper with her family life and the demands of public office. She faces skeptics who say she doesn’t have the education to govern, the power of corporate interests who take a stand against her fight for a $15 hourly wage, and a tough re-election against two contenders. As Castillo battles personal setbacks and deep-rooted notions of who is qualified to run for political office, she fiercely defends her vision of a society in which all people can earn enough to support themselves and their families.
DECADE OF FIRE. Directors & Producers Vivian Vázquez Irizarry & Gretchen Hildebran. Producers Julia Steele Allen & Neyda Martinez. 2018. Good Docs. www.gooddocs.net 75 minutes. Special discount for NAME members: NAME-DOF-20%
In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire. Abandoned by city government, nearly a half-million people were displaced as their close-knit, multi-ethnic neighborhood burned, reducing the community to rubble. While insidious government policies caused the devastation, Black and Puerto Rican residents bore the blame. In this story of hope and resistance, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry exposes the truth about the borough’s untold history and reveals how her embattled and maligned community chose to resist, remain and rebuild. Decade of Fire tells the story of the South Bronx that you’ve never heard before.
EXILED. Director, Producer & Cinematographer Mike Seely. Editor & Co-producer John Kane. Associate Producer Diya Guha. 2017. Good Docs. www.gooddocs.net. 30 minutes. Discount code for NAME members: NAME-EX-20%
This film tells the emotional and complicated stories of two deported U.S. military veterans living in Tijuana, Mexico. Although these soldiers had “lawful permanent resident” status in the U.S. and performed honorable military service, they have been sent back to their birth countries because of criminal convictions. Mauricio Hernandez struggles with severe PTSD as a result of his time as a U.S. combat soldier in Afghanistan, but in Mexico, he has no access to the mental healthcare that he is entitled to as a veteran. With sweat, tears and grassroots organizing, deported paratrooper Hector Barajas is on a mission to raise awareness about the deported veteran issue, and reunite with his 11-year-old daughter in Compton, California.
FOLLOWING THEIR LEAD: YOUTH IN ACTION. A series of short films. 2018. Brave New Films. www.bravenewfilms.org. 40 minutes.
Youth leaders have been instrumental in leading progressive movements throughout American history. During the Civil Rights Movement, young people played a pivotal role in ending segregation through nonviolent sit-ins and walk-outs. Youth organizers in the late sixties were responsible for lowering the voting age to 18. And more recently, Parkland students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organized one of the largest youth-led protests to date, mobilizing over 1.2 million people for the March for Our Lives protest. Young people are still using their collective power to lead change-making movements. The series spotlights youth-led advocacy groups across the country who are creating positive change on critical social and political issues. Young people are experts on their lives and the change they want to see in the world; they also bear the consequences of today’s decision-making. Their voices are powerful and should be heard. The youth voice needs to be at the decision-making table for all issues. Their help is essential for an inclusive and responsive democracy.
NAILED IT. Director: Adele Free Pham. Co-Producer: Kelvin Saint Pham. 2018. Third World Newsreel. www.twn.org. 59 minutes.
Visit any strip mall in the United States, and there’s bound to be a Vietnamese nail salon. While ubiquitous in cities across the country, few Americans know the history behind the salons and the 20 Vietnamese refugee women, who in 1975, sparked a multibillion-dollar industry that supports their community to this day. Weaving powerful personal stories with insightful interviews, Nailed It captures an unforgettable and often hilarious saga born of tragedy, charting the rise, struggle, stereotypes, and steady hold Vietnamese Americans have on today’s multiethnic $8 billion dollar nail economy.
PERSONAL STATEMENT. Producer: Beth Levison. Director: Juliane Dresser and Edwin Martinez. 2018. Good Docs. www.gooddocs.net. 57 minutes. Special discount code for NAME members: NAME-PS-20%
Three seniors at Brooklyn high schools are determined to get their entire classes to college, even though they aren't even sure they are going to make it there themselves. They are working as college counselors in their three schools because many of their friends have nowhere else to turn for support.
THE PUSHOUTS. Director Katie Galloway. Co-Director Dawn Valadez. Producers Katie Galloway, Dawn Valadez and Daniella Brower Sueuga. 2018. Good Docs. www.gooddocs.net. 56 Minutes. Discount code for NAME members: NAME-TPO-20%
"I was in prison before I was even born.” So begins the story of Victor Rios - a high school dropout, gang member, and three time felon by 15. But when a teacher’s quiet persistence, a mentor’s moral conviction, and his best friend’s murder converge, Rios’ path takes an unlikely turn. Two decades later Rios - by then a 36 year-old tenured UC professor, author and national thought leader on the school-to-prison pipeline - gets a call. “Hey Hotshot.” It’s Martín Flores, Rios’ high school mentor, who he hasn’t heard from in 15 years. “I know you’re busy, but I need you to come down to Watts this summer and work with my kids.” Its a make-it-or-break-it moment for these youth, warns Flores - who directs a program serving 16 to 24 year-olds who haven’t finished high school. “We get them on the right path now, or we lose them to the system.” Woven with archival material stretching back 25 years to Rios’ own troubled adolescence and including the contemporary story of this fateful summer in Watts.
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN. Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton. 2012. Good Docs. www.gooddocs.net. 45 minutes *Recommended only for audiences 14 and up due to mature emotional content. Discount code for NAME members: NAME-SB-25%
While many adoption-focused documentaries give voice to adoptive parents, Somewhere Between explores the emotional and cultural impact of adoption from the point of view of four teenage girls, all adopted from China. This award-winning film shares their personal journeys as these adoptees convey the experiences of a generation of young people attempting to reconcile their multiple identities. A recent adoptive parent of her own Chinese baby, filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton opens the film expressing her concerns for her daughter. How will she build a strong sense of identity as she grows older? Will she feel like an “outsider” living in a family with two Caucasian parents? How will she supplement the missing pieces of her early life? Goldstein Knowlton seeks these answers by chronicling the experiences over two years of Haley, Jenna, Ann, and Fang, all struggling to find their place in the world. Shedding stereotypes and a one-size-fits-all identity.
SUPPRESSED: THE FIGHT TO VOTE. Produced and Directed by Robert Greenwald. 2018. Brave New Films. www.bravenewfilms.org. 35 minutes.
This documentary weaves together personal stories from voters across the state of Georgia to paint an undeniable picture of voter suppression in the 2018 midterm election where Stacey Abrams fought to become the first Black female governor in the U.S. The issues Georgians faced included polling place closures, voter purges, missing absentee ballots, extreme wait times and a host of voter ID issues – all of which disproportionately prevented many students and people of color from casting their ballots. Suppressed: The Fight to Vote features experts, poll watchers and everyday Georgians speaking to the reality of voter suppression and the threat it poses in 2020. In a race that was ultimately decided by 54,723 votes, the film exposes that the basic constitutional right to vote continues to be under siege in America.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Directed by Angelique Molina. 2016. Women Make Movies. www.wmm.com. 27 minutes.
This film intimately follows an extended Black family of View Park-Windsor Hills, California as they experience changes due to gentrification and reflect on their shifting community. View Park-Windsor Hills is the largest Black middle-class neighborhood in the country. Adele Cadres is a longtime resident and mother of three who gives us insight into the history of the neighborhood. Her eldest daughter Ayana Cadres raises her biracial children with the hopes that they foster the utmost respect and reverence for the Black community she grew up in. Adele’s youngest daughter, Aida, struggles to find an affordable home in the neighborhood due to increasing property value. As the family and other residents reflect on the history and culture of their neighborhood, they debate the issues of maintaining a changing community. As the national conversation about the housing crisis continues and more and more people are being priced out of the market, There Goes the Neighborhood provides intimate access to the families most affected by this growing issue.
WARRIOR WOMEN. Directors Elizabeth A. Castle & Christina D. King. Producer Anna Marie Pitman. 2018. Good Docs. www.gooddocs.net 64 Minutes. Discount code for NAME members: NAME-WW-20%
In the 1970s, with the swagger of unapologetic Indianness, organizers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) fought for Native liberation as a community of extended families. Warrior Women is the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk, one such AIM leader who shaped a kindred group of activists' children - including her daughter Marcy - into the "We Will Remember" Survival School as a Native alternative to government-run education. Together, Madonna and Marcy fought for Native rights in an environment that made them more comrades than mother-daughter. Today, with Marcy - now a mother herself - both women are still at the forefront of Native issues, fighting against the environmental devastation of the Dakota Access Pipeline and for indigenous cultural values.