As the United States administration continues to push its zero-tolerance immigration policy, and thousands of children seeking asylum are held in detention centers, we invite you to explore the moving stories below that offer a stark reminder of why many immigrants risk everything to come here. These powerful films about the real lives of people on both sides of the border are essential viewing for all Americans who want to understand this growing crisis.

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Don't Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)

Since the age of 4, Angy Rivera has lived in the United States with a secret that threatens to upend her life: She is undocumented. Angy arrived with her mother, fleeing violence, poverty, and civil war in their native Colombia. For 20 years they live in the shadows, struggling to stay afloat financially and avoid deportation while battling a complex and inequitable immigration system. "Don’t tell anyone" is a phrase whispered often and branded deeply on the consciousness of all who are undocumented. Now 24, unable to pay tuition for college and facing an uncertain future, Angy joins the youth-led New York State Youth Leadership Council (YLC) with whom she dons a bullhorn at pro-immigration rallies, telling all who will listen that she is "undocumented and proud." Rivera becomes an activist for undocumented youth with a popular advice blog "Ask Angy" and a YouTube channel boasting more than 27,000 views. She steps out of the shadows a second time to share her story of sexual abuse, an experience all too common among undocumented women. DON’T TELL ANYONE (NO LE DIGAS A NADIE) follows Rivera’s remarkable journey from poverty in rural Colombia to the front page of The New York Times
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Maria in Nobody's Land

MARIA IN NOBODY'S LAND is an unprecedented and intimate look at the illegal and extremely dangerous journey of three Salvadoran women to the US.
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La Boda

In an intimate portrait of migrant life along the U.S.-Mexican border, Hannah Weyer’s new film LA BODA delves into the challenges faced by a community striving to maintain their roots in Mexico, while pursuing the “American Dream” across the border. Weyer’s camera follows Elizabeth Luis during the weeks before her marriage to Artemio Guerrero, interweaving the anticipation of the upcoming wedding with candid stories that explore the architecture of the Luis family. For 22-year-old Elizabeth, migrant life has meant shouldering responsibilities beyond those of an average young adult. Along with her seven siblings, she has contributed to the family income throughout her adolescence and young adulthood, often forced to sacrifice school for fieldwork and social life for travel as she and her family move between Texas, California and Mexico. LA BODA tells the timeless story of a young woman’s coming of age, while also confronting negative stereotypes of the migrant community with the real life biography of a Mexican-American family bridging the gap between countries and culture.
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Escuela

There are over 800,000 students enrolled in migrant education programs in the United States and, of those, only 45-50% ever finish high school. ESCUELA, the sequel to Hannah Weyer’s critically acclaimed documentary LA BODA, personalizes these glaring statistics through the honest portrait of a teenage Mexican-American farm worker, Liliana Luis. ESCUELA is a clear-eyed view into the lives of contemporary Mexican American migrants and their struggles to educate their children while obtaining employment. Centered around the life of Liliana, a daughter entering her first year of high school, Hannah Weyer follows the back-and-forth movement of the family between their home in Texas near the borderlands and the California agricultural fields. Despite the best efforts of the school systems to accommodate students like Liliana, the social and emotional life of this young woman is constantly in flux. This is an important work revealing the difficulties of girl life on the border in a way that no textbook could. - Joe Austin, Popular Culture Studies, Bowling Green University
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Ni Aquí, Ni Allá (Neither Here, Nor There)

NI AQUI, NI ALLA illuminates the challenges facing an undocumented college student and her family. Blanca, a second-year student at the University of California, Berkeley, crossed the border from Mexico into the United States with her parents when she was a child. As a student under the California DREAM Act who possess DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Blanca qualifies for financial aid and has temporary protection from deportation, though her undocumented parents, who live and work in California's agricultural Central Valley, do not. NI AQUI, NI ALLA paints an intimate portrait of an undocumented family as they support each other during a turning point in their lives and stay together through the distance. At a time in this country’s history where the debate around immigration is highly contested and demands to close the border are in the daily news, NEITHER HERE, NOR THERE paints a very human face on an issue that many use simply as partisan, political fodder. Essential viewing for Anthropology, Sociology and Multicultural and Immigration Studies.
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Children of Memory (Niños de la Memoria)

Hundreds of children disappeared without a trace during the Salvadoran civil war. Many were survivors of massacres carried out by the U.S.-trained Salvadoran army. Taken away from the massacre sites by soldiers, some grew up in orphanages or were "sold" into adoption abroad, not knowing their true history or identity. The film follows Margarita Zamora, an investigator with human rights organization Pro-Búsqueda as she traverses the Salvadoran countryside probing memory, swabbing DNA samples, and searching for disappeared children - including her own four siblings. In the United States, Jamie Harvey, adopted from El Salvador in 1980, dreams of locating her birth family; but with no information, no contacts and no access to the Salvadoran military war archives, she is losing hope. CHILDREN OF MEMORY weaves together separate yet intertwined journeys in the search for family, identity and justice in El Salvador.
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Las Marthas

Unlike any other, the annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas is part of a lucrative month-long festival honoring George Washington’s birthday. LAS MARTHAS follows two young women as they prepare for this elaborate rite of passage: Laurita, a 13th-generation debutante descended from Laredo’s original Spanish land grantees who questions debutante society’s class system geared toward girls like herself; and Rosario, a high-achieving, Mexican-raised and U.S.-schooled outsider struggling to understand the elite society’s unspoken rules. Tracing the event’s origins back to 1898, the film works to unravel why a town like Laredo – with a population that is 98% Mexican – feels such affinity for America’s Founding Father. Despite history and all odds, the celebration perseveres and flourishes thanks to the Mexican American girls who wear this gilded tradition in the form of elaborate colonial gowns. LAS MARTHAS is a beautifully drawn and sometimes humorous, coming of age portrait of these two young women as they navigate this complex tradition in a time of economic uncertainty and political tension over immigration and border relations between the US and Mexico.
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Portraits of a Search

More than 20,000 people disappeared in Mexico during the horrifically violent war on drugs waged by former President Calderon. With each missing person, a family is left behind in a desperate search to get answers from a government that is suspiciously ambivalent. Putting a human face on the most harrowing of statistics, director Alicia Calderon courageously captures the stories of three mothers - Natividad, Guadalupe, and Margarita - as they search for their children who have gone missing. One mother constantly retraces the last steps of her son, combing empty fields for his body; another travels all the way to Washington, DC, to plead for US intervention; and the last simply tries to forget the emptiness and raise her now-motherless grandson. In one of the most powerful documentaries about the human casualties of the Mexican narco-wars, these women’s stories are among the many that stand for truth and justice for the 26,000 missing people in Mexico today. With their lives now completely devoted to seeking out the truth, they pursue any avenue possible, in the face of an indifferent government which considers their loved ones to be "collateral casualties" of the drug war.
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Absences (Ausencias)

ABSENCES, by award winning filmmaker Tatiana Huezo (The Tiniest Place), exposes the ever-intensifying phenomenon of enforced disappearance in Mexico. A boy and his father disappear one morning, snatched off the road by armed men. Left behind, alone with her daughter, Lulu, a victim who refuses to give in, decides to tell the unacceptable story: the unfillable void, the absence of loved ones, the unanswered questions and the suffocating silence. After 5 years, absence has her living in a limbo that gives way to desire, hope and the struggle to find her 9-year old son Brandon and her husband, alive. This hauntingly beautiful short film illuminates the way disappearance affects women, and broadens our awareness on disappearance and its social consequences in Mexico and Central America.
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The Learning

One hundred years ago, American teachers established the English-speaking public school system of the Philippines. Now, in a striking turnabout, American schools are recruiting Filipino teachers. THE LEARNING, from award-winning filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz (IMELDA), is the story of four Filipina women who reluctantly leave their families and schools to teach in Baltimore. With their increased salaries, they hope to transform their families' lives back in their impoverished country. This absorbing, beautifully crafted film follows these teachers as they take their place on the frontline of the No Child Left Behind Act. Across the school year's changing seasons, the film chronicles the sacrifices they make as they try to maintain a long-distance relationship with their children and families, and begin a new one with the mostly African-American students whose schooling is now entrusted to them. Their story is intensely personal, as each woman deals with the implications of her decision to come to the US, and fundamentally public, as they become part of the machinery of American education reform policy.
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Birth on the Border

Seeking a safer future for their children, two women from Ciudad Juárez, risk harassment at the hands of Border Patrol to cross the US-Mexico border legally to give birth in El Paso, Texas.
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