Film series to examine truths about migration

Author: Arts and Letters


“Migration, Documented,” sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), will present six films to be shown at 7p.m. each Wednesday from Sept. 5 to Oct. 10 in 126 DeBartolo Hall on campus.

The migration of people from their homelands is as old as humanity, yet migration remains misunderstood. Emigrants often are seen as traitors, and immigrants as dangerous and self-serving invaders. The series is intended to help document migration and compel questions about the meanings of borders, the nature of identity and the possibility of cultural pluralism and integration.

The films are free and open to the public. They are:

Sept. 5 “La Fuerza,” produced with the help of students at Goshen College, demonstrates how Apan, Mexico, and Goshen, Ind., are linked by transnational migration amidst a growing Hispanic population in Elkhart County, crackdowns on illegal immigrants and issues of injustice.

Sept. 12 “Letters from the Other Side” tells the stories of many families affected by the immigration of Mexicans into the United States. Offering intimate windows into the lives of the immigrants and those they left behind, the film depicts the difficult complexities intertwined in issues of immigration, U.S. foreign policy and the importance of family structures.

Sept. 19 “H-2 Worker” exposes the harsh exploitation of men who traveled from Jamaica and other West Indies nations to work in the sugar cane fields of Belle Glade, Fla.

Sept. 26 “Life and Debt” is a woven tapestry of sequences focusing on the stories of individual Jamaicans whose strategies for survival and parameters of day-to-day existence are determined by the U.S. and other foreign economic agendas. It allows the complexity of international lending, structural adjustment policies and free trade to be understood in the context of the everyday realities of the people whose lives they impact.

Oct. 3 “Snakeheads: The Chinese Mafia and the New Slave Trade” explores the complicated issues of illegal immigration and sweatshop labor framed against a background of competing global economic forces and shines an uncompromising light on the modern day slave trade.

Oct. 10 “My American Girls: A Dominican Story” captures the joys and struggles over one year in the lives of the Ortiz family, first generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic, capturing the rewards and costs of conducting transnational lives that straddle national borders.

Contact: Tom Davis, events coordinator, Institute for Latino Studies,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on August 30, 2007.