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Stanford Summer Human Rights Film Series: Camera as Witness

EVT 608
Thursdays & Saturday
Jul 18—Jul 27
Various; See below
Cubberley Auditorium, School of Education
Additional Info:
All dates take place in one location.
Status: No Registration Required
Camera As Witness: Human Dignity—Faces of Immigration

This film series is moderated by Jasmina Bojic, Camera as Witness program director and founder of the UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival) international documentary film festival. This year, Bojic is devoting the series to the urgent and fraught challenge of human immigration. The filmmakers in this Summer’s series give this global political issue a human face, taking us inside the lives of men women and children who leave home, setting out for what they hope will be better and safer lives elsewhere.

Thursday, July 18, 7:00 pm
Which Way Home (83 min.)
Director: Rebecca Cammisa
As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Which Way Home, shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States. The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call "The Beast." The filmmaker tracks the stories of children like Olga and Freddy, 9-year-old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota; and Jose, a 10-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center. The film focuses on Kevin, a canny, streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment, and sorrow. They are the ones you never hear about—the invisible ones. View the Trailer.

Thursday, July 25, 7:00 pm
Well-Founded Fear (119 min.)
Directors: Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini
This documentary looks at the process of granting political asylum to the United States. Who deserves it? Who gets it? Who decides? Entering the closed corridors of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the filmmakers uncover a world where American ideals about human rights collide with the nearly impossible task of trying to know the truth. Filmmakers Robertson and Camerini interview the asylum officers, lawyers, translators, economic migrants, and refugees looking for protection—all focused on the confidential interviews that are at the heart of the asylum process and for some, a matter of life or death. View the Trailer.

Saturday, July 27, 2:00 pm*
Dreams Awake (7 min.)
Directors: Kevin Gordon and Rebekah Meredith
This film is a meditation on the immigrant experience through the life and poetry of Doroteo Garcia, a Mexican immigrant, father, janitor, union activist, and poet. Like countless Mexican immigrants, Doroteo came to the United States to make a better life for his family, leaving behind his sons in the process. What was meant to be a short separation turned into more than a decade. To deal with his loneliness, Doroteo turned to poetry to express himself. To deal with the invisibility of immigrant workers, he became a union activist. View the Trailer.

Death on a Friendly Border (25 min.)
Director: Rachel Antell
Since the mid-1990s when the United States began militarizing its southern border, an average of one person per day has died crossing into our country. Death on a Friendly Border puts a human face on this international tragedy. We hear the story of one woman's journey from her impoverished village in Mexico into the U.S. desert with her 18-month-old baby. And we hear the stories of the migrants, the Border Patrol agents, and the activists for whom the militarization of the border has become the governing reality of their lives.

Without Country (21 min.)
Director: Theo Rigby
"Undocumented immigrant" and "U.S. citizen" are often polarizing phrases that carry a charged set of assumptions and stereotypes. The film Without Country attempts to get beyond the partisan politics and mainstream media's "talking point" approach to immigration issues by exploring one family's complex and emotional journey involving deportation. In 1992, Sam and Elida Mejia left Guatemala during a violent civil war and brought their one-year-old son, Gilbert, to California. The Mejias settled in Marin County and for the past seventeen years they have worked multiple jobs to support their family, pay their taxes, and save enough to buy a home. They had two more children, Helen and Dulce, who are both U.S. citizens. Two years ago, immigration agents stormed the Mejias' house looking for someone who didn't live there. Sam, Elida, and Gilbert were all undocumented and became deeply entangled in the U.S. immigration system. After a passionate fight to keep the family together, Sam and Elida were deported. They returned to Guatemala, taking Dulce with them. View the Trailer.

Undocumented (72 min.)
Director: Patricia Shih
Born and raised in what was the drug and murder capital of the world, Medellin, Colombia, Harold’s parents fled the violence with the same dream that all immigrants hold—to make a better life in a new land. Harold faced years of separation from his parents as a young boy, grave danger on the open seas, and hardship, fear, bullying, and bigotry in America. As he and his family lived "in the shadows" as undocumented immigrants, Harold was determined to achieve The American Dream. Through hard work, perseverance, and the support of compassionate people, Harold Fernandez and his family became legal citizens of the U.S., with Harold graduating from Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. He is now one of the top cardiac surgeons in New York. He saves countless lives, literally holding the hearts and the lives of his patients and their families in his hands. His story is not a typical one, yet it holds out hope for the millions of immigrants who have come—and have yet to come—to the land of their dreams. View the Trailer. Visit the film's Website.

*The films on Saturday, July 27, will run in consecutive order.
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