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National Immigrant Solidarity Network
4th National Grassroots Immigrant Strategy Conference
& Immigrant Rights Film Festival

April 10-12, 2009 UIC Student Center West
828 South Wolcott, Chicago, IL

Conference Hotline: (773)942-2268

April 10 – 11: National Immigrant Rights Film Festival

Over dozen highly acclaimed immigrant rights films! The National Immigrant Rights Film Festival is part of the main events for the April 10-12 Chicago, IL National Grassroots Immigrant Strategy Conference.

Friday April 10 6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Saturday April 11 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Location: UIC Student Center West 828 South Wolcott, Chicago, IL Direction

Admission: $3.00

Click Here for Film Festival Schedule

Feature Films

Made in L.A.
(Producer Will Be Coming to Speak at the Film Fest Opening Night at Friday April 10, and workshop at the Conference!)

Directed by: Almudena Carracedo & Robert Behar

View Trailer:

Made in L.A. follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a mega-trendy clothing retailer. In intimate verite style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman’s life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity, and the courage it takes to find your voice.

* Made in L.A. screening sponsored by the Rafael Cintron Ortiz Latino Cultural Center


La Americana
(Chicago Premier! Producer Will Be Coming to Speak at the Film Fest!)

Directed and Produced By Nicholas Bruckman
Co-Director John Mattiuzzi
Co-Producer Jesse Thomas

View Trailer:

Carmen never planned to come to the United States, but when her daughter Carla was only nine-years-old, tragedy struck.  Carmen left Carla behind in Bolivia and made the dangerous and illegal journey to New York City where she could earn enough to support her ailing daughter, knowing she may never return home.  But after six years of separation, congress proposes 'amnesty' legislation that could allow Carmen and Carla to be reunited again. 

Will Carmen stay and fight for the American dream, or be home as promised for Carla's quinceañera?  Filmed in three countries and told through an intimate cinema-vérité narrative, her unforgettable story is woven into the current immigration debate in the United States, putting a human face on this timely and controversial issue.


USA vs Al-Arian
(Member of the Al-Arian Family Will be Coming to Speak at the Film Festival!)

Diected by: Line Halvorsen

View Trailer:

In February 2003, university professor and pro-Palestinian civil rights activist Sami Al-Arian was arrested in Tampa, Florida, charged with providing material support to a terror organization. For two-and-a-half years he was held in solitary confinement, denied basic privileges and given limited access to his attorneys. While the Bush administration considered this a landmark case in its campaign against international terrorism, Sami Al-Arian claims he was targeted in an attempt to silence his political views.

The film follows Sami Al-Arian’s wife Nahla and their five children throughout his 6 month-long trial. It is an intimate family portrait that documents the strain brought on by the trial, a battle waged both in court and in the media. In the film a tight-knit family unravels before our very eyes as trial preparations, strategy and spin consume their lives. This is a nightmare come to life, as a man is prosecuted for his beliefs rather than his actions.

The film raises questions on whether it is possible for a man like Sami Al-Arian to receive a fair trial in the United States given the current hostile environment against Muslims and the strong US support of Israel. It presents democracy in a new light in a post-9/11 culture of fear, where "security measures" trump free speech and punishment is meted out in the name of protection. It is an example of how the American government’s hunt for terrorists is a struggle that can be seen from multiple angles.


A Forgotten Injustice
(Producer Will Be Coming to Speak at the Film Fest Opening Night Friday April 10!)

Produced by: Vicente Serrano
News Anchor - Telemundo Chicago

 “A Forgotten Injustice” is the first film that uncovers the massive “deportation” of almost two million U.S citizens and legal residents who were forced out of the Unites States during the Great Depression in the 1930s. These people were forced to leave because of one reason: They were of Mexican descent.

When the stock market and U.S. economy crashed in 1929, U.S. officials sought a convenient scapegoat, a quick solution to their problem. They tightened immigration rules and focused on sending Mexicans across the border. According to some government officials, Mexicans were taking jobs and welfare benefits away from "real" Americans. As the Depression engulfed the United States in the early 1930s, fear and anxiety spread among the Mexican community as a result of the anti-Mexican sentiment that was developing. It turned out that local, state, and national officials had teamed up with private entities to launch massive efforts to get rid of them.

Official Selection: Chicago Latino Film Festival 2009


Lost in Haiti
(Producer Will Be Coming to Speak at the Film Fest and the Conference!)

Directed by: Gregory Jesus Luc

View Trailer:

A documentary exploring the social, cultural, political, and personal ramifications endeavored by many current and future deportee's returned to Haiti, their birth-land under the new U.S. Immigration Laws. Our Haitian-American perspective will explore the root cause of ap to oppress, assimilate, and acculturate propriation and objectification of the Haitian culture and history as a tool the deportees. We will reveal how the United States Immigration and deportation process functions and the effects change on the lives of long-time U.S. residents and their families left behind using dramatic personal first hand accounts.


Children in No Man's Land

Produced by: Anayansi Prado, Wendy Ettinger, Judith Helfand, Julie Parker Benello

Children In No Man’s Land is a documentary that uncovers the current plight of the 100,000 unaccompanied minors entering the United States every year. This film gives this timely political debate about the U.S.-Mexico border a human face by exploring the story of Maria de Jesus (13) and her cousin Rene (12) as they attempt to cross the US/Mexico border alone to reunite with their mothers in the Midwest. Focusing on minors crossing through the Sonora Desert area in Nogales, Arizona, this film explores every detail of these children's journey as well as the journeys of other children we meet on the way. We uncover in an intimate and personal way where they are coming from, what their journeys have been like and how they've gone about it, through to the arrival at their destination — their new home, The United States of America.


The Deportee's Wife *Special Live Performance!

By: Giselle Stern Hernández

View Trailer:


In this solo show, Giselle Stern Hernández’s marriage is laid out on the front lines of the North American immigration debate.  Giselle’s husband, Roberto was deported from Chicago, Illinois back to Mexico in April of 2001.  Giselle moved to Mexico to live with him in August of that same year.  While she was born and raised in the States, and they were legally married, it didn't make a difference at all; her husband was deported anyway, with the order to stay out of the U.S. for twenty years. 

And then there came the day that he wasn't allowed to enter Canada. 

Through music and images, she tells their unforgettable story.  In THE DEPORTEE'S WIFE, Giselle brings a clear, distinctive and personal voice to an issue that's often swept away between sound bites and presidential campaigns. 

Giselle tells you a love story you'll never forget.


De Nadie

Produced by: Tin Dirdamal

View Trailer at IMDB

The story of a Central American immigrant's difficult journey to the United States in search for a better life. The film follows a number of refugees who have to cross Mexico, about 4,000 kilometers, before reaching the US border. On their way through Mexico they put their remaining money, dignity, health and life on the line. The soundtrack was written by Mexican composer Alfonso M. Ruibal.


Voice of the Mountain

Directed by: Michael Hurley Field, Tyler Rumph

View Trailer at YouTube

Voice of a Mountain is a video documentary of the lives of rural Guatemalan coffee farmers who took up arms against their government in a civil war that lasted 36 years. This documentary explores Guatemala's dark history from the perspective of those who saw armed revolution as their only hope for change in a poverty-ridden nation under years of military dictatorship. Ex-combatants talk about the bleak reality of the country that led to their involvement in the war, and the response of genocide from the Guatemalan government against its people. The documentary gives insight into their motives for joining an armed conflict as interviews reveal personal accounts of struggle, hope, tragedy, and the fruits of their resistance.


Speaking in Tongues
(Film Festival Special Sneak Preview)

By: Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider - PatchWorks Films

In a time where 31 states have passed English Only initiatives, one urban school district explores the provocative notion that speaking a foreign language can be a national asset.  We follow four of its diverse students and their families as they encounter the challenges and delights of becoming fluent in two languages.  Their journey forces us to reconsider our assumptions about assimilation, integration, globalization, and what skills are critical for the 21st century.


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