*April 8th screening FREE and open to the public!
Interactive panel discussions will be hosted by Director Esaú Meléndez at both events. Reception featuring Mexican food from Mexico City to be provided at the April 9th screening!
Presented in conjunction with Duquesne University, Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and Pittsburgh Jóvenes Sin Nombres
Supported by the Humanities Scholars Program at Carnegie Mellon University
“The United States is a country that has been built by immigrants, which is a reality that has been happening generation after generation happening around the world since the beginning of humankind. Some leave, others seek refuge and others simply go in search of a new life. Yet, here in Immigrant Nation!: The Battle for the Dream, we see another reality, where the ‘American Dream’ is not within the reach of all.” -Esaú Meléndez, Director
2010 Cine Latino Award, DC Independent Film Festival, Washington
2010 Best Documentary, Latino Film Festival, Chicago
2011 Best Documentary, Cine Festival of San Antonio
2010 Award of Merit, Indie Fest
Official Selection: Kansas International Film Festival, Los Angeles International Film Festival, San Diego Latino Film Festival, Show Me Social Justice Film Festival, San Francisco Latino Film Festival, New York International Latino Film Festival
Imagine that you open your door one day to find police officers standing before you and requesting to see your documentation. This is the cataclysmic opening scene to Esau Meléndez’'s shockingly poignant documentary, featuring a single mother named Elvira Arellano and her American-born son, Saul. Faced with the dilemma of vehemently protesting the deportation mandate or temporarily leaving her child behind so that he may continue living in America, Elvira realizes the full potential of the Latino American human rights movement. Upon witnessing the compelling scenes that feature giant street protests, heart wrenching interviews with displaced families, and the political dramas displayed on national news networks, the viewer begins to apply a human face to one of the most controversial issues of the decade. Elvira’'s visceral story inspires thoughtful debate and progressive action in support of the ever-changing mindset regarding international migration.
First Panel (at Duquesne screening): Director Esaú Meléndez; Marco Gemignani, a Duquesne University assistant professor of psychology who focuses on the psychological effects of border crossing; and Sister Suzanne Susany of the Community Justice Project, a legal organization dedicated to helping Hispanic families in the Pittsburgh area understand their legal rights.
Second Panel (at CMU screening): Director Esaú Meléndez; Roger Rouse, a Carnegie Mellon history professor who has conducted ethnographical studies involving border cultures and the effects of globalization on the migrant; Jennifer Gully, a Carnegie Mellon Humanities professor who specializes in translation and migration studies; and Alfonso Barquera, a paralegal specializing in immigration law and the co-director of Jovenes Sin Nombres,** a Latino youth movement based in Pittsburgh whose mission is to spread awareness of the cultural and political significance of the U.S. Latin American community.
**Jovenes Sin Nombres are also submitting a short experimental documentary film to the festival's Competitive Shorts Program. The film is guided by the creative direction of Felipe Castelblanco, a CMU visual arts graduate student, and will focus on the political aspirations surrounding the Dream Act, the evolution of the dream for the Latino migrant, and the partial enactment of dreams in everyday contexts,
in hopes of sharing their overall dream of actualizing true social equality among members of the Latino community in the United States.
Esaú Meléndez emigrated from Mexico City where he spent most of his childhood and presently lives in Chicago with his family. He has been involved in film and TV production for the past 10 years, working as a director, producer, cameraman and editor. He studied film & video at Columbia College in Chicago and soon after began working with the Spanish Broadcast Network, Telemundo and WYCC, a Chicago PBS affiliate. He has also directed award winning short films El Solo in a New City and Escucha! Esaú has directed and produced various commercials and music videos with his production company, Clandestino Films. His passion has always been to tell stories regarding social issues that affect the community. Immigrant Nation!: The Battle for the Dream is Esaú’'s first feature film.