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Michigan State University

Immigrants in the United States: Film


Looking for films regarding immigrants or immigration?  Please share recommendations.

Coming to America : Films from the Internet

Coming to America by Neil Diamond from YouTube

Arrival Of Immigrants - Ellis Island 1906 from YouTube

Ellis Island : 1892-1954 from YouTube

Immigration Ellis Island 1911 from YouTube

American Dream : the Mexican American Experience (Part 2)

Becoming American: The Chinese Experience  (excerpts from Bill Moyer's documentary from YouTube)

Becoming American: The Chinese Experience (Part 2)

Becoming  American: The Chinese Experience (Part 3)

Becoming American: The Chinese Experience (Part 4)

Becoming American: The Chinese Experience (Part 5)

Becoming American: The Chinese Experience (Part 6)

Becoming American: The Chinese Expereince (Part 7)

The Chinese in America (University of California Television): Author Iris Chang explores the impact on American history by Chinese immigrants over the last 150 years.This is a look at the successes and failures of the American democratic experience as well as the lessons learned by Chinese immigrants that are still relevant today. Series: "Voices"

Becoming American: The Hmong Experience (Part 3)

Becoming American: The Hmong Experience (Part 4)

Becoming American: The Hmong Experience (Part 5)

Becoming American: The Hmong Experience (Part 6)

The Irish In America - Part 1

The Irish In America - Part 2

The Irish in America - Part 3

The Irish in America - Part 4

Italian Immigration Documentary from YouTube

Museum of Chinese America Shows Little Known History

Faculty Services

Video Digitization

Faculty may request hard copy videos be digitized for course distribution on D2L.

  1. Secure copyright permissions by submitting a request to the MSU Libraries Copyright Permissions Center.
  2. Contact Insructional Design and Development with your request.  They will need to see the copyright permission before digitizing.

Course Reserves

Faculty may place videos on course reserve.  This will keep videos intended for course use in the library for student viewing.  Faculty may be able to arrange special permission to check out the reserved video for a classroom showing by contacting the DMC.


Selected Films, A-E

14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark and Vanessa LopezGraham Street Productions, 2014.  [San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2016.  Streaming video file from Kanopy (Lease). : 14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark and Vanessa Lopez explores the recurring question about who has the right to be an American citizen. 14 examines the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment through compelling personal stories and expertly-told history. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. The story is told through the lives of three ordinary and extraordinary American families who changed history by their courageous challenges to the powerful status quo - Dred and Harriet Scott, Wong Kim Ark and Rosario and Vanessa Lopez. Descendants of Dred and Harriet Scott and those of Wong Kim Ark tell the stories of how their ancestors fought all the way to the Supreme Court and changed American history. Rosario Lopez and her daughter Vanessa are both activists in the immigrant rights youth movement. Born in the United States and a citizen under the 14th Amendment, Vanessa wants to be either an artist, a photographer, a lawyer, or a marine biologist and President of the United States. It is the citizenship of millions of children like Vanessa Lopez, born in the United States to undocumented parents, that is at stake now.

9500 Liberty / I.D. Alliance presents a Chris Rigopulos production, a film by Annabel Park & Eric Byler ; produced by Alex Rigopulos ... [et al.] ; written and directed by Annabel Park & Eric Byler.  [Metuchen, N.J.] : Interactive Democray Alliance/ Passion River Films, [2011]  1 DVD videodisc (80 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV7111.P75 A15 2011 VideoDVD : Documents the first and only time in U.S. history that an Arizona-style immigration law was actually implemented — and the surprising grassroots position that led to its repeal. Racial tension and threats of violence erupt when Prince William County, Virginia adopts a law requiring the police to question people who appear to be undocumented immigrants. Despite fears of reprisal, a group of concerned citizens launches a “virtual resistance” using social media, setting up a final showdown with the law’s ferocious advocates.

Abandoned : the betrayal of America's immigrants / a Crowing Rooster Arts production ; produced by David Belle ; directed by David Belle and Nicholas Wrathall. Oley, PA : Bullfrog Films, 2000. 1 VHS videocassette (55 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. JV6483 .A23 2000 Videocassette : Films looks at the personal impact of new immigration laws in the U.S.

AbUSed: The Postville Raid a film by Luis Argueta.  Presented by Tristan Call, Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food.  [New York, N.Y.] : Maya Media, c2010.    1 DVD videodisc (97 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6201 .A38 2010 VideoDVD : Through gripping personal narratives, this documentary tells the story of the people, families, and town that survived the largest, most expensive, and most brutal immigration raid in United States history.  More information available at

Admissions : student stories from undocumented America / a film by Chloe Smolarski and Tasha Darbes.   [Washington, D.C.] : American Educational Research Association, 2012.  1 DVD videodisc (50 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in..  LC3727 .A38 2012 VideoDVD  : Fascinating insights into the shadowed lives of young adults who are American de facto if not de jure. . .Admissions is a character driven, feature-length creative nonfiction film exploring the highly personal stories of four undocumented college students:  Blanca, Charlie, Viridiana and Jong Min. Trapped at the intersection of education policy and broken immigration systems, the obstacles these students face—financial, legal and psychological—are presented, demonstrating the dehumanizing effects of marginalization and unequal educational access....Poignant narratives—a seventeen-year-old discovering his unauthorized status, an angry young adult being accompanied by her mother to buy fake papers, a college student being expected to train his own boss, and the identity crisis which arises when a student returns to Mexico speaking “like a gringo”—unfold seamlessly, deconstructing the nuances of surviving as an undocumented student in a deeply flawed and politicized educational system. At the intersection of personal narrative, art and education, Admissions delves into the inherent contradictions and psychological implications of being an undocumented student in higher education.  Trailer.

Alambrista! = The illegal / Image Entertainment ; written by Robert M. Young ; produced by Michael Hausman, Irwin Young ; directed by Robert M. Young.  [Irvington, NY] : Criterion Collection, [2012]  1 DVD videodisc (96 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet ([7] p. ; 18 cm.)  PN1997 .A436 2012 VideoDVD  disc & booklet : A farmworker sneaks across the border from Mexico into California in an effort to make money to send to his family back home. It is a story that happens every day, told here in an uncompromising, groundbreaking work of realism from American independent filmmaker Robert M. Young. Vivid and spare where other films about illegal immigration might sentimentalize, Young's take on the subject is equal parts intimate character study and gripping road movie, a political work. 

America By the Numbers / with Maria Hinojosa ; series producer, Charlotte Mangin ; produced by the Futuro Media Group in association with WGBH for PBS.  [Arlington, Va.] : PBS Distribution, [2014]  2 videodiscs (approximately 240 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  E184.A1 A498 2014 VideoDVD  :  This series explores the impact of the growing number of Asians, Latinos, African Americans, persons of mixed race, immigrants, women, youth and LGBTs whose influence over culture, commerce and the outcome of elections is affecting every aspect of the life in America.

La Americana / People's Television presents ; by director Nicholas Bruckman ; co-director, John Mattiuzzi ; co-producer, Jesse Thomas ; directed and produced by Nicholas Bruckman.   New York : Cinama Guild, 2009.  1 DVD-R videodisc (65 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV7048.A3 A64 2009 VideoDVD : When nine-year-old Carla suffers a life-threatening accident, her mother, Carmen, must leave her behind and make the dangerous and illegal journey from Bolivia to the U.S., where she hopes to earn enough to save her daughter’s life. Working in New York to support Carla’s medical needs, Carmen struggles in vain to legalize her immigration status, and wrestles with the prospect of never seeing her daughter again. Then, after six years of separation, Congress proposes “amnesty” legislation that could allow Carmen and Carla to be reunited at last....An intimate and heartbreaking story, La Americana shows how immigration policy affects families on both sides of the border, putting a human face on this timely and controversial issue. Winner of multiple awards at film festivals across the country, La Americana is now being used as the centerpiece for a nationwide campaign to engage and inspire audiences to dialogue about immigrants’ rights and immigration reform....Filmed across three countries in a captivating cinematic narrative, La Americana is Carmen's story, and the story of millions of illegal immigrants who make the difficult decision to leave their families behind to pursue the elusive American dream.

Arizona : resisting SB 1070 immigration law / National Day Laborer Organizing Network ; National Domestic Workers Alliance ; Puente Movement ; QUAD Pdns ; Third World Newsreel.  New York, NY : TWN, 2010.  1 DVD videodisc (61 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6465 .A75 2010 VideoDVD : These four videos document the impact of SB 1070 and other immigration policies on the lives of immigrant families in Arizona, and the growing national efforts to end these violations of human and civil rights. SB 1070, signed into law by Arizona Governor Brewer in April 2010, made it a crime not to carry documentation at all times – and gave local police broad powers to detain anyone they suspected of possibly being undocumented. The videos show the chilling terror that has kept families prisoners in their own homes, and children in fear of losing their parents to surprise detainment and deportations. Women and children have been particularly affected by this law, but have also been in the forefront of fighting for their human and civil rights, and young people have become some of the strongest spokespersons for this resistance movement. These videos were projects of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the National Domestic Workers Alliance in partnership with the Puente Movement.

SHORT I: ARIZONA WOMEN AND CHILDREN RISE (18 min) In May 2010, a delegation of women leaders, including members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, went to Arizona to bear witness to the human rights abuses against women and children in the wake of the anti-immigrant law SB1070.

SHORT II: WOMEN AND CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY DAY (9 min) A combination of clips from the Women and Children’s Advocacy Day press conference and hearing that took place on July 15, 2010 in Washington D.C. Included is the voice of Puente Arizona, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the personal accounts of two young activists whose lives have directly been affected by the anti-immigration law SB1070. A young mother shares her impacting story and speaks out against the emphasized stress on women and children: “I’m a hard-working mother here to support my family. I’m really afraid of being deported and I don’t want to leave my daughter here without a mother.”

SHORT III: WOMEN AND CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY DAY PRESS CONFERENCE (11 min) Clips from the Women and Children’s Advocacy Day press conference, featuring representatives from the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Puente Arizona, and young activists who have directly been affected by the anti-immigration law SB1070. Heidi Portugal, age 12, addresses the audience and says, “So I ask all of you guys, please, to pass the word and not let SB1070 pass as a law because it is just hateful and separates lots of families.”

SHORT IV: WOMEN AND CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY DAY HEARING (22 min) Clips from the Women and Children’s Advocacy Day hearing, featuring young activists and state representatives, all addressing the consequences of detaining and deporting parents, and, the lasting effects they have on the children left behind. Carola Suarez-Orozco, a professor of applied psychology at NYU, reports, “currently 16 million children have at least one parent that is an immigrant. The majority of these youths are U.S. citizens.”

Asylum / a film by Sandy McLeod and Gini Reticker.  New York, N.Y. : Filmakers Library, [2003]  1 DVD videodisc (20 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  GN484 .A8 2003 VideoDVD : Asylum is a powerful tale of a young Ghanian woman whose life suddenly changes when her father insists that she undergo a bloody, life-threatening circumcision and then marry an old man. Although traditional circumcision is now illegal in Ghana, it is still practiced....Baaba Andoh had a happy childhood, raised by her mother who sold vegetables in the market place. Baaba had sought out her long-lost father to seek his blessing for her marriage to the man of her dreams. To her horror, she learned of her father's plan and fled her village. Her father, a man of some means, pursued her....Having no recourse but to leave the country, she obtained a false passport and a ticket to the U.S. with the help of friends. The INS spotted the forgery immediately and arrested her at Newark Airport. She spends a nightmarish year in prison before she is successful in obtaining political asylum. Her chilling story is not unlike that of many of the 7,000 women immigrants now being held in detention, awaiting legal representation and hearings on their claims.  

The Basket (1999) / North By Northwest Entertainment ; produced and directed by Rich Cowan ; screenplay, Don Caron, Rich Cowan, Frank Swoboda, Tessa Swoboda.  Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (104 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.B29 B375 2001 VideoDVD : The Basket, set in the United States during World War I, is a quiet family film about tolerance and basketball. German orphans Helmut and Brigitta are adopted by the pastor in the tiny farming town of Waterville, Washington. The people of Waterville are suspicious--both of the new "Huns" in town and new schoolteacher Mr. Conlon (Peter Coyote). Conlon sets the town abuzz by teaching (gasp!) German opera and showing his students a new game from the east called basketball. Can the small-town hayseeds beat the juggernaut team, the Spokane Spartans? Will Helmut get to play? And what about that new tractor everybody wants? The Basket doesn't generate quite the excitement of, say, Hoosiers, but it is not a bad movie at all and is beautifully shot, to boot. It's also a great way to teach kids that it isn't as easy as you might think to spot the bad guys.

A Better Life / produced by Jami Gertz ... [et al.] ; screenplay by Eric Eason ; directed by Chris Weitz. Santa Monica, CA : Summit Entertainment, 2011. 1 DVD videodisc (97 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.F35 B488 2011 VideoDVD  : Chris Weitz has come a long way since he unofficially codirected American Pie with his brother Paul in 1999. Having pulled out of the raunchy teen comedy genre in pretty short order, he's been a reliable craftsman of interesting work that includes About a Boy, The Golden Compass, and New Moon. With A Better Life, Weitz makes another shift of gears to the indie front. Here he tells the heartbreaking yet gently observed story of a Mexican man living illegally in Los Angeles with his teenage son while trying to scrape out a literal embodiment of the movie's title for them both. A Better Life uses a quiet and methodical narrative structure to portray a few days in the life of Carlos, a man who truly believes in the opportunity he can create by working hard and following the moral character running deep within him--if not for himself, then certainly for his son Luis. He's hooked up with a friend who owns a pickup truck, a few lawnmowers, and basic landscaping tools, and the two of them spend long days manicuring the manses of greater Los Angeles. Carlos lives in a tiny house, barely scraping by and with his head always bowed against the threat of his illegal status. Sixteen-year-old Luis is a good kid, but on the at-risk side of falling in with a gang unless Carlos can instill the kind of principled existence he believes in, no matter how downtrodden they feel. When his boss offers to sell Carlos the truck and "the business," he agonizes over the risk, but gets a loan from his sister and beams at the prospect of finally making a move that may one day lead to the kind of success in America he envisions. But bad luck strikes early and often for Carlos. A large chunk of the film is devoted to his search to retrieve the stolen truck with the help of Luis, a sequence that captures all the despair, doggedness, and nuance of character that Carlos and Luis bring to bear on their struggle in life and their relationship with each other. The precise and tidy formal style of Carlos's journey and all the things and people he encounters become both expository and revelatory in bringing him to life as a dedicated man who won't give up no matter how difficult or even hopeless the effort may seem. Demián Bichir's performance as Carlos anchors this humble, melancholy, yet huge-hearted film about faith, optimism, and the promise of making life better for the most genuine of reasons.

Border War  : the Battle Over Illegal Immigration / a Genius/Non-Fiction Films presentation a Citizens United/Peace River Company LLC production ; produced by Kevin Knoblock, David N. Bossie ; written and directed by Kevin Knoblock.  Santa Monica, CA : Genius Entertainment, c2006. 1 DVD videodisc (ca. 95 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. JV6456 .B67347 2006 VideoDVD  : The human and drug trafficking across the border between the United States and Mexico has been called the illegal immigration invasion. The lives of five individuals affected by the rise in illegal immigration are documented.

Bread and roses  / a Parallax Pictures, Road Movies Filmproduktion and Tornasol/Alta Films production ; with the participation of British Screen ... [et al.] ; a co-production between Britain, Germany and Spain ; producer, Rebecca O'Brien ; screenplay by Paul Laverty ; directed by Ken Loach.  [United States] : Lions Gate Home Entertainment, c2006.   1 DVD videodisc (110 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M45 B724 2006 VideoDVD : Maya is an illegal alien who has crossed the U.S. border from Mexico to search for her sister Rosa, and to begin a new life. After being reunited, Rosa gets Maya a job with a janitorial service in a large office building. While working, Maya happens upon Sam Shapiro, a muckraking lawyer and union agitator whom the service-workers' union has assigned to bring its "justice for janitors" campaign to the building. Appalled at the work conditions and unfair labor practices, Maya and Sam team up to fight her employer.

Brooklyn / Fox Searchlight Pictures with BBC Films, Telefilm Canada, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board, SODEC and BFI present a Wildgaze Films/Finola Dwyer Productions, Parallel Films, Item 7 co-production ; produced in association with Ingenious in association with BAI RTE and Hanway Films ; a film by John Crowley ; directed by John Crowley ; produced by Finola Dwyer & Amanda Posey ; written by Nick Hornby.  Beverly Hills, California : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, [2016]   1 DVD videodisc (111 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in..  PN1995.9.E44 B76 2015 VideoDVD : Oscar Nominee Saoirse Ronan* lights up the screen as Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant navigating through 1950s Brooklyn. Although her initial homesickness soon gives way to romance, when Eilis s life is disrupted by news from her hometown, she is forced to choose between two countries and two men on opposite sides of the world. Based on the best-selling novel, Brooklyn is a warm and wonderful story about falling in love...and finding your way home.

The Caretaker and The Mayor : two short films on immigration / New Day Films ; directed by Theo Rigby ; produced by Kate McLean ; produced in association with Dogpatch Films ; Real Ideas Studios.  [New York] : New Day Films, [2014]  1 DVD (approximately 18 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6475 .C37 2014 VideoDVD : The Caretaker and The Mayor are two powerful short films that explore contemporary immigration issues in the U.S. through intimate portraits of relationships between recent immigrants, and those who came to the U.S. generations ago.  The short films are an invaluable tool for the classroom, providing a unique way to start difficult conversations through the power of documentary storytelling.  The two films come closed captions, Spanish subtitles, and a robust 60-page discussion guide to use in classrooms.  Trailer.

Children in No Man's Land  / [presented by] Impacto Films and Chicken & Egg Pictures ; a film by Anayansi Prado.  Los Angeles, CA : Impacto Films, c2008.  1 DVD videodisc (39 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. JV6465 .C45 2008 VideoDVD : A documentary that uncovers the current plight of the 100,000 unaccompanied minors entering the United States every year.  The film will give this timely political debate about the U.S.-Mexico border a human face by exploring the stories 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 will explore every detail of these children's journey as well as the journeys of other children we meet on the way as 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.

Crossing Arizona / directors, Joseph Mathew, Dan DeVivo ; producers, Dan DeVivo, Laurie MacMillan ; writer, Laurie MacMillan.  New York, NY : Cinema Guild, c2006.  1 DVD videodisc (77 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  E184.M5 C756 2006 VideoDVD  :  A Sundance festival favorite, Crossing Arizona shines needed illumination on the complicated and emotional debate over illegal immigration in the United States. Heightened security at the U.S./Mexico border has forced border crossers into the treacherous terrain of Arizona's brutal desert. The perilous journey, which can take up to four days, has caused a dramatic rise in the number of migrant deaths. Seen through the eyes of frustrated ranchers, border patrol agents, local politicians, farmers dependent on an illegal work force, humanitarian activists, desperate migrants, and the Minutemen who quickly became darlings of the national news media, this powerful documentary unveils the complicated dilemmas presented by the border crisis and the surprising political stances people take when immigration and border policy fails everyone.

De nadie = Border crossing  (2005) / Producciones Tranvía ; writers, Lizzette Arguello, Iliana Martínez ; director/producer, Tin Dirdamal ; co-producer, Jose Torres.  Van Nuys, CA : Amigo Films : Distributed by Laguna Films, [2007]  1 DVD videodisc (80 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6456 .D4 2007 VideoDVD : Follow one man as he leaves behind everything in Central America. With little sense of direction and only his family's memories as company, he faces the dangers in Mexico and tries to cross into freedom and the United States.

Death on a Friendly Border   / A film by Rachel Antell.  2002.  26 minutes.  Streaming video from Filmakers Library : The border that runs between Tijuana and San Diego is the most heavily militarized border between "friendly" countries anywhere in the world. Since 1994 when the U.S. instituted Operation Gatekeeper, an average of one person a day has died crossing into the U.S. The policy has been condemned by the UN Commissioner of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International....This poignant film puts a human face on a tragedy that occurs daily. First we visit a small village in Oaxaca where more than half the men have emigrated to the United States to send money home. From here we follow the story of one young woman who made the journey to follow her husband, but died of dehydration in the desert. Then the film goes to Tijuana where thousands of people have desperately attempted the crossing, only to be thrown back. We learn of the hardships imposed by heat and thirst and abusive border guards. Finally, we hear first hand from a border guard, a human rights activist, and a citizen who actually goes into the desert each weekend to provide water for the fugitives....This is a memorable portrait of people who risk everything to come to "the land of plenty" --- and often lose this gamble.

Destination America : [the People and Cultures That Created a Nation]  (2005) / a series by David Grubin ; produced by David Grubin Productions and Penguin Television.  [United States] : PBS Home Video ; Hollywood, Calif. : Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment, 2005.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 220 min.) : sd., col. and b&w ; 4 3/4 in.  E184.A1 D474 2005 VideoDVD : Destination America looks at the driving forces that have compelled individuals to immigrate to America and, in particular, the immigration of women who have come to this country in search of opportunity and basic human rights denied them in their homelands.  Contents : [Part 1] The golden door / written & produced by Stephen Stept ; associate producer, Rachel Buchanan ; cinematography, Keith Walker ; edited by Ed Barteski -- [Part II] The art of departure / written, directed, photographed & produced by David Grubin ; co-producer, Dana Liebert ; edited by Deborah Peretz -- [Part III] The earth is the Lord's / written, directed, photographed & produced by David Grubin ; co-producer, Danna Liebert ; edited by Bruce Shaw -- [Part IV] Breaking free: a woman's journey / written, produced & directed by Chana Gazit ; edited by David Steward ; co-producer, Alexandria Dionne ; directors of photography, Erich Roland & Joel Shapiro.

The Distorted Image : stereotype and caricature in American popular graphics, 1850-1922 / producer, Zirel Handler ; executive producer, Samuel Elfert.  New York, N.Y. : Anti-Defamation League, [1992]  1 VHS videocassette (28 min., 23 sec.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 1/2 in. E184.A1 D576 1992 Videocassette : Cartoons and caricatures from American popular publications, reflecting widespread attitudes toward immigrant racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the United States, 1850-1922.

DREAM : an American story / a Fluorescent Cheetah production of an Aldo Bello film ; produced by Aldo Bello and Michael Lefort ; a film by: Aldo Bello.  [Alexandria, Va.] : [DREAM: An American Story, LLC], [2014]  1 videodisc (96 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. JV6483 .D73 2014 VideoDVD : Set in today’s heated immigration debate and polarized political climate, the film examines the US’s currently dysfunctional immigration system through the personal stories of individuals struggling under the constant threat of deportation, the rise of the national student and youth activist movement advocating for passage of the DREAM Act, and the impact of immigration policy and laws on the nation.

A Dream in Doubt  / directed and produced by Tami R. Yeager ; produced by TRY Productions.  San Francisco, CA : Independent Television Service ; distributed by Center for Asian American Media, c2007.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 57 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in  E184.S55 D74 2007 VideoDVD :  An immigrant story of survival as a wave of deadly hate crimes terrorizes the Sikh American community in Phoenix, Arizona. The film features Rana Sodhi, an Indian immigrant whose life is forever altered by the 9/11 terror attacks, not because he knew someone who died in the rubble, but because Rana’s turban and beard—articles of his Sikh faith—now symbolize America’s new enemy....A Dream in Doubt follows Rana Singh Sodhi, Balbir’s brother, as he attempts to fight the hate threatening his family and community. The Sodhis had fled ethnic violence in India to pursue their version of the American dream. But less than a year after Balbir’s murder, Sukhpal Sodhi, Rana’s next-eldest brother, is killed in mysterious circumstances while driving a cab in San Francisco. Nine months later, Rana’s friend Avtar Chiera is shot by three men who yell, “Go back to where you came from!” Three weeks after Avtar’s shooting, another friend, Inderjit Singh, is physically assaulted and threatened with death while working at a convenience store. These incidents receive little to no coverage in the U.S. media, and a national dialogue concerning post-9/11 hate crimes and ethnic profiling is sorely missing. Wanting justice for his brothers’ murders, Rana is motivated towards social action. He demands that America live up to its ideals of equality....A Dream in Doubt explores the complexities of race, religion, immigration, and the American Dream. In the end, the film demonstrates that hope and courage have the power to overcome hate.

Echando Raices = Taking Root : Immigrant and Refugee Communities in California, Texas and Iowa / produced by the American Friends Service Committee ; producer, Rachael Kamal ; director/editor, J.T. Takagi. Philadelphia : American Friends Service Committee, c2002.  1 VHS videocassette (120 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. + 1 discussion guide (65 p. ; 28 cm.)  JV6465 .E34 2002 Videocassette : Discusses: the factors that bring immigrants to the U.S., beliefs and assumptions about immigrants, the systematic exploitation of immigrants, and what people can do to collectively work for social justice. Created as a resource for education and organizing, the film shares stories from some of the immigrant community organizations that work in partnership with the American Friends Service Committee.  Two identical one hour films, the first in English, the second in Spanish.

El norte = The North / screenplay by Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas ; original story by Gregory Nava ; directed by Gregory Nava ; produced by Anna Thomas ; Independent Productions in association with American Playhouse for Channel Four.  Melbourne : Force Video, [between 2000 and 2009?], ©1983.  1 videodisc (139 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.   PN1997 .N667 2000z VideoDVD     : Beginning in the remote mountain jungles of Guatemala, awash with the lushness of nature and the rainbow colors of the Mayans, this highly-acclaimed drama about a brother and sister seeking a better life centers on two young Indians. When their father is killed by government soldiers and their mother taken away, they set out for the "promised land" to the north--El Norte.  Another film review.

Ellis Island  / Greystone Production ; produced & directed by Lisa Bourgoujian.  [New York] : History Channel : Distributed by New Video, 2001, c1997.  1 DVD (ca. 150 min.) : sd., col. and b&w ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6484 .E45 2001 VideoDVD (Also available as part of the ROVI Movie Collection) : Between 1892 and 1954 over twelve million people came through Ellis Island to the United States. Their stories are told through interviews and vintage photographs.

Ellis islandNew York : A&E Television Networks, 1997.  137 minutes.   Available as streaming video from American History on Video.

The emigrants : The new land / a Svensk Filmindustri production ; screenplay by Jan Troell, Bengt Forslund ; produced by Bengt Forslund ; directed, photographed, and edited by Jan Troell.  [Irvington, New York] : The Criterion Collection, [2016]  3 DVD videodiscs (393 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 folded-out leaflet.  PN1995.9.F67 E45 2016 VideoDVD  discs 1-3 & leaflet : A monumental mid-nineteenth century epic that charts, over the course of two films, a poor Swedish farming family's voyage to America and their efforts to put down roots in this beautiful but forbidding new world. Includes bonus disc with special features.

Every Day is a Holiday / directed and produced by Theresa Loong.  New York, NY : FORM360, c2013. 1 DVD videodisc (57 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in  E184.C5 E94 2013 VideoDVD  Purchased with performance rights from   :  Chinese-American filmmaker Theresa Loong creates an intimate portrait of her father, a man fifty years her senior. In this documentary, we explore the bonds of the father-daughter relationship and place themes of growing older, immigration and racism in the context of “living history.” Paul Loong talks of his experiences as a POW in Japan and his subsequent quest to become an American. We discover why, despite much suffering, “Every Day Is a Holiday.”  More info.   Trailer

Selected Films, F-I

Faces of America  : with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. / PBS ; a film by Kunhardt McGee Productions and Inkwell Films in association with Ark Media ; written by Henry Louis Gates Jr. ; senior producers, Barak Goodman and Sue Williams ; executive producers, Henry Louis Gates Jr., William R. Grant, Peter Kunhardt, Dyllan McGee ; a production of Kunhardt McGee Productions, Inkwell Films and THIRTEEN for WNET.ORG.  [New York, NY] : Thirteen/WNET ; [Alexandria, VA] : Distributed by PBS Distribution, 2010.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 240 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in.  CS47 .F33 2010 VideoDVD : What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of the new PBS series Faces of America. Building on the success of his series African American Lives  (called by The New York Times the most exciting and stirring documentary on any subject to appear on television in a long time ) and African American Lives 2, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. turns again to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 11 renowned Americans. Looking to the wider immigrant experience, Professor Gates unravels the American tapestry, following the threads of his guests lives back to their origins around the globe. Along the way, the many stories he uncovers of displacement and homecoming, of material success and dispossession, of assimilation and discrimination illuminate the American experience. Professor Gates guests include poet Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and read the poem at President Barack Obama s inauguration, chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, writer Malcolm Gladwell, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, film director Mike Nichols, Her Royal Highness Queen Noor, actress Eva Longoria, actress Meryl Streep and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.  Note: Also available as part of the ROVI Movie Collection.

Farmingville  / a film by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini ; directed by Catherine Tambini and Carlos Sandoval ; produced by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini ; written by Carlos Sandoval ; produced by Camino Bluff Productions, Inc.  [S.l.] : Docurama ; Distributed by New Video, c2004.  1 DVD videodisc (78 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.M49 F376 2004 VideoDVD : A documentary film which looks at the people of Farmingville, New York, and at how they are dealing with the influx of about 1,500 Mexican workers.

The garden  / Oscilloscope Laboratories ; Black Valley Films in association with Katahdin Productions and Impact Partners ; produced & directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy ; co-producers, Dominique Derrenger, Vivianne Nacif.  [New York] : Oscilloscope Pictures, 2009.  1 DVD videodisc (80 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  SB457.3 .G373 2009 VideoDVD : The fourteen-acre community garden at 41st and Alameda in South Central Los Angeles is the largest of its kind in the United States. Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992, the South Central Farmers have since created a miracle in one of the country’s most blighted neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding their families. Creating a community....But now, bulldozers are poised to level their 14-acre oasis....The Garden follows the plight of the farmers, from the tilled soil of this urban farm to the polished marble of City Hall. Mostly immigrants from Latin America, from countries where they feared for their lives if they were to speak out, we watch them organize, fight back, and demand answers. ...Why was the land sold to a wealthy developer for millions less than fair-market value? Why was the transaction done in a closed-door session of the LA City Council? Why has it never been made public?...And the powers-that-be have the same response: “The garden is wonderful, but there is nothing more we can do.” ... If everyone told you nothing more could be done, would you give up? / The Garden has the pulse of verité with the narrative pull of fiction, telling the story of the country’s largest urban farm, backroom deals, land developers, green politics, money, poverty, power, and racial discord. The film explores and exposes the fault lines in American society and raises crucial and challenging questions about liberty, equality, and justice for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

Geronimo : His Story / Flavyn Feller, Producer/Director.  1996.  26 minutes. Streaming video from Filmakers Library : Geronimo Mendoza Sanchez came to the United States in 1986 as an "illegal alien," not knowing a word of English. He worked by day and went to school by night, learned English, and sent money home to Mexico. Geronimo shares the same dreams and goals a many Mexicans have who come to the U.S.
Geronimo: His Story is an intimate portrayal of what it's like to be an "illegal alien." It follows Geronimo, from his United States life in California to his ancestral home in central Mexico. His village, like hundreds in Mexico, is transforming due to the high rate of migration to the United States. Of the village's 1,500 people, aproximately half have left. Almost all have migrated to the same location, Santa Cruz, California.
Geronimo is like many others in his town, with the exception that he is the only person from his village to seek a college education in the United States. His hope is that he will someday be equipped with the tools he needs to help his dying town. This documentary puts a human face on the border problem between the U.S. and Mexico.  Access available to the MSU community and other subscribers.

Golden Door (2007) / Miramax Films and Martin Scorsese, Alexandre Mallet-Guy and Fabrizio Mosca present a Memento Films production, Titti Film Respiro production in co-production with Arte France Titti Film Respiro (Firm); a film written and directed by Emanuele Crialese. Burbank, CA : Miramax Home Entertainment : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, [2008], c2007.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 118 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.H5 G65346 2008 VideoDVD : Swiping its title from the inscription on the Statue of Liberty ("I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"), Emanuele Crialese's third film manages to be epic and quirky at the same time. In most coming-to-America stories set during the turn-of-the century, a prologue establishes the central character's birthplace. Then, he boards a ship. In the next scene, he disembarks on American soil. The rest of the movie concerns his (or her) efforts to adjust to a new culture. Crialese ditches that last part altogether. Instead, he builds his entire narrative around the Mancuso family’s journey from Sicily to New York. First, he introduces the deeply superstitious clan. Feisty matriarch Fortunata  is a healer. Her son, Salvatore, is a widowed farmer with two sons and a vivid imagination. Informed that America's vegetables are as big as men and that California's rivers are made of milk, Salvatore becomes obsessed with these images. While boarding the steamer to the States, he meets well-born Englishwoman Lucy. She takes a shine to Salvatore, who keeps an eye on her throughout the voyage. Once they land at Ellis Island, the new arrivals realize their journey is far from over. There are medical inspections and intelligence tests, and those found wanting will be deported. Crialese concludes with one of Salvatore's imaginings writ large--suffice to say, it concerns milk. With the late Vincent Schiavelli as a marriage broker.

Golden Venture  / New Day Films ; writer, producer, director, Peter Cohn ; Hillcrest Films LLC.  [New York, N.Y.] : Hillcrest Films, c2006.  1 DVD videodisc (70 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. JV6483 .G65 2006 VideoDVD : The film chronicles the ongoing struggles of passengers who were aboard the Golden Venture, an immigrant smuggling ship that ran aground near New York City in 1993. Passengers had paid at least $30,000 to be brought to the U.S. from China's Fujian Province, expecting to arrive indebted but unnoticed. But a seemingly golden opportunity quickly evolved into a hellish descent through the cruel whims of U.S. immigration policy. The Golden Venture crash fed a media circus and became a symbol of a growing national concern over illegal immigration. Many passengers were deported over a two-year period, while others were detained for up to four years. "Golden Venture" is a global epic, a story of stoic perseverance and unexpected grace, played out in the shadow of national politics and the continuing failure of ever-harsher US immigration policies. At a time when the immigration issue has led to furious debate and high stakes political maneuvering, the fate of the Golden Venture passengers is more relevant than ever.

Harvest of empire  : the untold story of Latinos in America / Onyx Films, EVS Communications and Loquito Productions present ; in association with Getzells Gordon Productions ; directed by Peter Getzels & Eduardo López ; produced by Wendy Thompson-Marquez & Eduardo López.  [Tampa, FL?] : Onyx Films ; [S.l.] : EVS Communications, c2012.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 93 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequence ; 4 3/4 in.  E184.S75 H378 2012 VideoDVD : At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, Onyx Films is proud to present Harvest of Empire, a feature-length documentary that examines the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today....Based on the ground-breaking book by award-winning journalist Juan González, Harvest of Empire takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape.  Trailer.

Heaven will protect the working girl  / an American Social History production ; directors, Pennee Bender, Joshua Brown, Andrea Ades Vásquez ; producer/art director/script, Joshua Brown ; co-producer/editor, Pennee Bender ; co-producer/assoc. art director, Andrea Ades Vásquez.  Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ : American Social History Film Library, c1993.  1 videocassette (28 min.) : sd., b&w with col. sequences ; 1/2 in.  HD6073.S5132 N7 1993 Videocassette : Period still and motion pictures and words derived from interviews, memoirs, newspapers and other sources are assembled to show the life of immigrant shirtwaist makers in New York City during the first decade of the 20th century. Illustrates the strike movement and their arrests.  Viewer's guide and trailer

The History of the United States : U.S. Immigrants a Multi-Cultural Journey.  (Part of the Series A Nation Of Immigrants) TMW Media.  2005.  18 minutes.  Available as streaming video from Kanopy. : Take a historical look at immigration into the U.S. over the millennia. This program makes the important point that everyone in America immigrated from another part of the world. What brought people to this continent? What similarities do we all share? What does the future hold? Discover attitudes about immigration, learn why millions emigrate to America and how immigrants effect national culture.

I Learn America / directed and produced by Jean-Michel Dissard & Gitte Peng.  [New York, N.Y.?] : I Learn America, c2013.  1 DVD videodisc (93 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  LC3726 .I15 2013 VideoDVD (Also available as streaming video via Kanopy) : In America, nearly one in four students is a child of immigration. At the International High School at Lafayette, a Brooklyn public high school dedicated to newly arrived immigrants from all over the world, five teenagers strive to master English, adapt to families they haven't seen in years, and create a future of their own while coming of age in a new land.  Meet the students:

  • SING is a refugee from Myanmar who has recently relocated to Brooklyn, leaving his family behind. He is isolated, angry and barely speaks English. Will he accept the help of his English teacher?
  • BRANDON made the journey from Guatemala to America to reunite with his mother after ten years apart. Crossing the desert and making the perilous journey was easy compared to getting to know his mom again. Will he be able to meet her expectations to do well in America?
  • SANDRA (17, Poland) is a tomboy, a class leader and she's also undocumented. She and JENNIFFER, a sassy classmate from the Dominican Republic, are inseparable best friends - "like a flower with water." Sandra has grown confident in identifying as a girl who dresses as a boy, but as she faces graduation, she fears that being undocumented means she will lose all they have been able to gain once they leave the security of the school.
  • ITRAT came to America from Pakistan to join her father, a traditional Shia Muslim. She barely knew him after the passing of her mother. What kind of future is waiting for her in America? Will she return to Pakistan to marry or will she go to college and build her independence?

Identity, voice & community among new African immigrants to Kansas  / a project of the Kansas African Studies Center with support of the Kansas Humanities Council.  [Lawrence, Kansas]: Kansas African Studies Center, [2006]  1 DVD videodisc (40 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  F690.A24 I43 2006 VideoDVD : Highlights the emergence in metropolitan Kansas of multiple and unique African communities--from Somalia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Zanzibar, and elsewhere. Looks at questions of identity (who are we in this new place?), voice (who speaks for us?), and community (how do we relate to American at large and to other African immigrants? How do we keep alive our traditions?

Illegal / Filmworks Entertainment ; produced by Jacob Pokluda [and others] ; story by Marco Shepherd ; screenplay by Carl W. Lucas ; directed by Ric Dupont.  Santa Clarita, CA : FilmWorks Entertainment, 2013.  1 DVD videodisc (108 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. ROVI Movie Collection AR2 D0152285 VideoDVD : Tells the stories of five people from Ciudad de Juarez who dream of a better life in the U.S.

The Immigrant Experience  : the Long, Long Journey (1972) / written and directed by Joan Micklin Silver ; produced by Linda Gottlieb.  St. Louis, MO : Phoenix Learning Group, [2007], c1972.  1 DVD videodisc (29 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in. E184.P7 I44x 2007 VideoDVD : Dramatization with narrated sequences. Seventeenth in a series on events that shaped the American nation. More than 35 million people came to America in the century between 1820 and 1920, and their story is told in this moving portrayal of one family that arrives in the United States from Poland in 1907. The hopes and conflicts of all immigrants are seen through the eyes of the boy Janek, and in a warm scene at the program''s close, Janek the man looks at his dreams of a lifetime being realized through his grandchildren..

Immigrant nation!  : the battle for the dream / Clandestino Films presents ; directed & produced by Esaú Meléndez.  [Chicago, Ill.] : Un Sueño Americano LLC ; [New York] : New Day Films, c2010.  1 DVD videodisc (96 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  DVD.  JV6456 .M458 2010 VideoDVD :(Also available as streaming video via Kanopy) :  Immigrant Nation! is a feature documentary film about the modern immigrant rights movement. In particular, it is the story of the struggle of Elvira Arellano, a single mother from Chicago, who fought her deportation. The film also interweaves the stories of individuals, organizations, activists and community leaders united by passion and a concern for justice. This film illustrates the opposition to the controversial HR4437 immigration bill as well as the ongoing struggle and demand for comprehensive immigration reform.  Trailer.

Immigrant Prisons / Brave New Films (2017). Each year, the U.S. government locks up roughly 440,000 immigrants in over 200 immigrant prisons. These prisons have grown into a highly privatized, lucrative and abusive industry that profits off misery. We're doing everything we can to expose the abuses of the deportation industrial complex. In our new film, we explore conditions inside these prisons, exposing substandard medical care, widespread physical and sexual abuse, virtual slave labor working conditions and more. These abuses happen behind closed doors with little to no oversight. This film, created in partnership with advocates for detainee rights, is shining a light on a particularly dark corner of the American justice system. 

Immigrants and the American Civil War  / A&E Television Networks.  New York : A&E Television Networks, [2008?]  43 minutes.  Streaming video from America History in Video.  : A panel of leading historians discuss immigration during the American Civil War.

Immigration (1946) - Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Inc.  Streaming video from the Internet Archive / Prelinger Archives : Reviews the history of immigration to the United States up to the restrictive law passed in 1924. A dramatized scene in a European steamship office is used to show the economic, political and religious motives for immigration. Contains scenes of Ellis Island and New York City in the early 20th century.  Produced for the History Channel.

Immigration / a production of JumpStart Productions, LLC ; produced in association with Thirteen/WNET New York.  [New York] : JumpStart Productions, LLC ; [Alexandria, Va.] : PBS Home Video [distributor], c2006.  1 DVD videodisc (120 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6456 .N69 2007 VideoDVD : A compilation of four previously aired NOW episodes on the topic of immigration in the United States.  Latinos Now: a national conversation (05/21/06): NOW brings together national leaders, activists and politicians to debate proposals on how to solve the nation's immigration impasse. As Congress struggles to find a solution, NOW and public radio's Latino USA look at where the immigration debate is headed in a San Antonio town hall meeting. Hosted by Maria Hinojosa. Panelists include: former HUD secretary and former mayor of San Antonio, Henry Cisneros, D.A. King (Dustin Inman Society); Michael Eric Dyson, University of Pennsylvania; Richard Langlois, Republican party chair; Macarena Hernandez, Dallas Morning News; Lee Teran, St Mary's University; Archbishop Jose Gomez, archdiocese of San Antonio....Be our guest (05/26/06): NOW goes inside the immigration debate, investigating the guest worker program. Is it a solution, or part of the problem? NOW Interview: Lila Azam Zanganeh, the editor of a collection of essays by Iranian writers, shares with David Brancaccio what Americans need to understand about Iran....Immigration on Main Street (10/19/07): With Washington stuck in place on illegal immigration policy, local governments are taking the matter into their own hands, shifting the cultural and political battleground from Pennsylvania Avenue to Main Street, USA. NOW catches up with two New Jersey mayors who have sharply different -- and politically surprising -- approaches to dealing with undocumented immigrants in their communities....Alien nation? (9/29/06): NOW looks at how Republican candidates, eager to rally conservative voters, are talking tough on illegal immigration. NOW travels to Indiana to interview politicians, naturalized citizens, and business leaders on the politics of immigration. Also, an Interview with former U.S. Senator, and Episcopal Priest John Danforth about his new book, "Faith and Politics: How the 'Moral Values' Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together."

Immigration : A Northern Experience (YouTube).  A student project for Race and Ethnic Diversity at NWTC, produced by Andy Garcia, March 1, 2012.  Addresses immigration in the Upper Peninsula.

Immigration Battle: Reasons to Believe (Directors Cut). Frontline New York, NY. : The Epidavros Project, 2015 , 1 hour 55 mins.     Streaming video available from Filmakers Library.  Why has it been so hard for Washington to fix America's broken immigration system?Go behind closed doors in Washington's corridors of power to explore the political realities surrounding one of the country's most pressing and divisive issues.

Immigration in the belly of the beast  : a discussion at the US Social Forum in Atlanta, June 29, 2007 / Z Video Productions presents.  Woods Hole, MA : Z Video Productions, [2007]  1 DVD videodisc (74 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6465 .I47 2007 VideoDVD  : This plenary discussion at the 2007 United States Social Forum in Atlanta, Georgia covers immigration in the U.S. today from a variety of perspectives: Latino/a, African American, Native American, LGBTQ youth, union organizing, and human rights. Discussions among the eight speakers range from the punitive legislation being considered as 'reform' to persecution along the U.S./Mexico border and coalition building in the face of scapegoating and misinformation

The Immigration Issue (2008) - Link Media, Inc. / Streaming video from the Internet Archive :  The immigration issue in the U.S. is once again a hot topic of discussion. It is an election year, and the economy is in a downturn. The United States is a nation founded on immigration, however, with every new wave of immigrants, social and economic pressures often cause a backlash. This heats up the debate within the political arena. The most recent wave of immigrants, both legal and illegal, is from Latin America, with the majority coming from Mexico...

Immigration, Social policy, and Employment  / Governor's State University ; in cooperation with the College of Arts and Sciences ; Center for Extended Learning and Communication Services ; producer/director, Mark Kundla.  New York, NY : Insight Media, 2001.  1 VHS videocassette (59 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. JV6465 .I465 2001 Videocassette : Film deals with the social and economic reasons people immigrated to America.

In America  / Fox Searchlight Pictures ; a Hell's Kitchen production ; directed by Jim Sheridan ; written by Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, and Kirsten Sheridan ; produced by Jim Sheridan, Arthur Lappin. Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2004.  1 DVD videodisc (105 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997.2.I53 I53 2004 VideoDVD : In America stars the incandescent Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine as two young Irish parents who have lost their only son. Trying to run away from their grief, they move (illegally) to a junkie-infested apartment building in New York City with their two daughters, Christy (Sarah Bolger) and Ariel (Emma Bolger). Though they struggle with meager jobs and suffocatingly hot weather, a friendship with an artist in an apartment below them (Djimon Hounsou, Gladiator) becomes a catalyst that allows them to rebuild their family. In America is splendidly acted throughout--of particular note are the two girls, real-life sisters whose on-screen charisma is clearly a family trait. But it's Morton who anchors the movie; her every emotion seems to glow from her skin. The commitment of the actors keeps the movie compelling, despite some dangerously sentimental patches.

Island of Hope - Island of Tears (1989)  - National Park Service.   Streaming video from the Internet Archives :  From 1892-1954, Ellis Island was the port of entry for millions of European immigrants. Fascinating archival footage tells the moving story of families with dreams of opportunity, leaving their homes with what they could carry. CINE - Golden Eagle Award 1990 Columbus International Film and Video Festival - Chris Award 1990 Earthwatch Institute Film Award - 1991 National Educational Film & Video Festival

Selected Films, J-L

Journey to America  / presented by WGBH/Boston, WNET/New York, and KCET/Los Angeles ; a film by Charles Guggenheim.  [Alexandria, VA] : PBS Video, c1990.  1 VHS videocassette (60 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 1/2 in. JV6453 .J688 1990 Videocassette : A tribute to the over 12 million immigrants entering the United States between 1890-1920.  Part of the American Experience series.

Journey to freedom  : the immigrant experienceChatsworth, CA : AIMS Media, c1986. 1 videodisc (13 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 in. + 1 study guide.  JV6450 .J685 1986 Video (12 inch) disc  : This program uses vintage photographs and newsreel footage to tell the story of American immigration over the past century.

La ciudad  = The city / North Star Films ; a film by David Riker ; produced by David Riker and Paul S. Mezey ; written, directed and edited by David Riker.  New York, N.Y. : New Yorker Video, c2005.  1 DVD videodisc (88 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.F67 C579 2005 VideoDVD : Tells four stories about recent immigrants to New York City: a group of day-laborers scavenging for bricks; two teenagers from the same hometown who meet and fall in love; a homeless father who tries to enroll his daughter in school; and a garment worker who seeks justice in the sweatshops.

Life on the Line / by Cactus Media. 2008.  32 minutes.  Streaming video from the Filmakers Library : Every year thousands of migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala leave their families and homes in Central America in their attempt to make a life for themselves in "El Norte" (the U.S.). Staking everything they own on a one-way trip to the promised land, they encounter police abuse, robbery, extortion, rape and even murder at the hands of Mexicans. Ironically, Mexicans face similar hardships when they try to enter the U.S. illegally. This powerful documentary tells the stories of the desperate Central American men, women and children who put their lives on the line for a dream they can never be sure to reach....As they journey north through Tabasco and Veracruz, traveling along the tracks of the train known as "The Beast,” these migrants are treated not as human beings but as a profitable industry. Cristina, a Honduran woman, had left her daughter behind in the hope of finding a job in the U.S. that would let her send money back to her family. She got stopped at the border, when Mexican authorities wouldn't let her leave until she could pay the "coyotes" (people smugglers). She finally made it to Houston, where she started working. Since the film was made, the trains leaving Chiapas for the north were suspended and thousands of migrants were stranded in Chiapas without food or money. Military forces and police dealt with the situation by means of massive deportations and human rights violations.  Access available to the MSU community and other subscribers.

Living in America: A Hundred Years Of Ybor City / Produced by Gayla Jamison.  1989.  54 minutes.  Streaming video from the Filmakers Library : This film celebrates the long and rich tradition of Latin culture in this country in its vivid portrayal of Ybor City, Florida. This multicultural community was founded in the 1880's, when Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants arrived to work in the thriving cigar factories. It flourished until World War II when the effects of assimilation, urban renewal and the decline in the cigar industry led to its demise....The film captures the colors, rhythms, and texture of this close-knit, ethnic enclave. Here people played dominoes over a cup of cafe con leche, socialized at the dance clubs, and took pride in a perfect, hand-rolled cigar. Although they experienced hard times and discrimination, they always had a protective community to fall back on. Access available to the MSU community and other subscribers.

Los trabajadores  = The workers / produced, directed, edited by Heather Courtney.  [Hohokus, N.J.?] : New Day Films, [2003?]  1 videodisc (48 min.) : sd., col., with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in.  HD8081.H7 C687 2003 Video : "We build the buildings, we do the hardest jobs, and still they don't want us." These are the words of Juan Ignacio, a Nicaraguan laborer profiled in the documentary Los Trabajadores/ The Workers, winner of the International Documentary Association's David L. Wolper Student Achievement Award. Through the stories of two men, Ramon and Juan, and through the controversy surrounding the relocation of a day labor site from downtown to a residential neighborhood, Los Trabajadores/ The Workers examines the misperceptions and contradictions inherent in America's paradoxical history of both dependence on and abuse of immigrant labor. While socio-political and economic issues provide the much-needed context, the film's spine and focus are Ramon and Juan, as well as the day labor site where they wait for work, as we follow a year in all three lives. Through the story of the day labor site moving into a residential neighborhood, we learn about some of the obstacles faced by immigrants, including the misconceptions that can lead to discrimination. Through Ramon and Juan, the complexities of immigration and labor issues are given a rarely seen human quality. "I came here illegally and this is against the law of the United States," says Ramon, a Mexican father of two, "but it is not against my law, nor is it against the law of my family. Even if they're American, they can't tell me I can't work to support my family." Ramon, his family, Juan, and other immigrants help to humanize an issue that has been terribly dehumanized in the mainstream media.

Lost boys of Sudan / Actual Films ; Principe Productions ; POV ; directed and produced by Megan Mylan & Jon Shenk.  [United States] : New Video Group : Docurama, 2004.  1 DVD videodisc (87 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  E184.S77 L67 2004 VideoDVD : The journey of two teenage Sudanese boys, orphaned by their war torn country, who traveled to America looking for a safer environment and learning to cope with the unfamiliar complexities of contemporary American society.

Lost in Detention : the Hidden World of Immigration Enforcement.  FrontLine, 2011.  55 minutes.  Available as streaming video from PBS Video Collection : More than one million immigrants have been deported since President Obama took office, deportations and detentions have reached record levels. The get-tough policy has brought complaints of abuse and harsh treatment. FRONTLINE investigates Obama's enforcement strategies and journeys into the secretive world of immigrant detention, with a penetrating look at who is being detained and what is happening to them.

Maid in America  / Impacto Films presents ; produced by Kevin Leadingham ; produced & directed by Anayansi Prado.  New York, NY : Distributed by Women Make Movies, 2004.  1 DVD videodisc (57 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. HD6072.2.U6 L67 2004 VideoDVD : Examines the lives of three Latina immigrants working as nannies and housekeepers in Los Angeles, revealing the vital role Latina immigrants play in many American households. The issue of worker's rights is introduced in the film through Dynamic Workers, a collective of women who have formed their own business to provide job security and benefits, and Domestic Workers Association, a support organization providing information and advocacy.

Miles from the border  / Film by Ellen Frankenstein.  Harriman, NY : New Day Films, [2005?]  1 DVD videodisc (15 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  F869.L89 M554 2005 VideoDVD  : Manuela and Ben Aparicio, sister and brother, brought by their parents in search of a better future, arrived in the United States from a rural village in Mexico to an ethnically divided community in California. Twenty years later, they share their stories of dislocation and their determination to succeed. They sensitively portray their struggles to learn English, resist efforts to be pushed into vocational programs, go on to universities, and help other immigrants achieve and find balance in the changing demographics of American society. Their story of claiming a place poses critical questions about identity, adaptation and survival in a multicultural world.

Natives : Immigrant Bashing On the Border / Produced by Jesse Lerner and Scott Sterling.  1993.  25 minutes.  Streaming video from the Filmakers Library : Starkly shot in black and white, this multi-festival film captures the unabashed xenophobia of a number of Americans living in California along the U.S.-Mexican border. They are reacting to the influx of undocumented aliens, who they believe are draining community resources and committing crimes. Nativist organizations have been formed such as "Light Up The Border" which masses cars along the border with head-lights blazing at possible intruders....The film critiques the nativist position by contrasting the professed love of country with racist and anti-democratic attitudes. One white-haired couple advocates machine-gunning down a few at the border as a warning. Other residents complain that "the illegals bring drugs and disease, multiply like rabbits, fill up the jails, and go on welfare."  Access available to the MSU community and other subscribers.

New American soldier  : [fighting for America, fighting to become American] / directed, filmed and edited by Emma Cott, Anna Belle Peevey.  Harriman, NY : New Day Films, [2010]  1 DVD videodisc (24 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  UA25 .N49 2010 VideoDVD  : New American Soldier follows three immigrant soldiers through training and deployment, as they take steps towards US citizenship. Clarissa Calderón emigrated from Peru as a young girl, and didn’t think of enlisting until a recruiter told her the Army would pay for medical school. Seth Donkor won the visa lottery in Ghana, and is now living out his Rambo fantasy as a private in the US Army. For Victor Toledo Pulido, whose family walked across the US-Mexico border when he was seven, the Army offered a way out of the farmlands of California's Central Valley....New American Soldier contemplates two of the most debated issues in US politics today: immigration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through the stories of real people on the front lines, this powerful documentary gives us a better understanding of the people who are fighting this war, and what it means to be American.

The New Americans  / Kartemquin Films.  [United States] : Kartemquin Educational Films, 2008.  2 DVD videodiscs (410 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JK1759 .N49 2009 VideoDVD  : Follow four years of the lives of a group of contemporary immigrants from the Dominican Republic, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Palestine, as they journey to start new lives in America. The detailed portraits of these immigrants not only result in a kaleidoscope of immigrant life but offer their first impressions of America. Background information from PBS.

The other side of immigration / a film by Roy Germano ; written and directed by Roy Germano ; produced by Roy Germano.   [New Paltz, N.Y.] : RG Films : [Distributed by] Team Love Records, [2010], ©2010.  1 videodisc (approximately 55 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  ROVI Film Collection CV1 D0126691 VideoDVD : Based on over 700 interviews in Mexican towns where about half the population has left to work in the United States, The Other Side of Immigration asks why so many Mexicans come to the U.S. and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind. Through an approach that is both subtle and thought-provoking, filmmaker Roy Germano provides a perspective on undocumented immigration rarely witnessed by American eyes, challenging audiences to imagine more creative and effective solutions to the problem.  Cover.

Out of Status  /  A film by Pia Sawhney and Sanjna N. Singh.    2007.  66 minutes.  Streaming video from the Filmakers Library : You can say you're sorry, you can apologize, but you can't give back the hours, the minutes, the months a family has been broken up." - Carma Said.  In post 9/11 America, civil liberties have been curtailed in the name of national security, and immigrants were separated from their families when laws changed quickly, and were enforced selectively....Before, there was an implicit understanding between the INS and immigrant communities that people who had applications pending to legalize their status couldreside in the country until an application was approved. After 9/11, and for South Asians and Arabs, the rule changed. The Muslim community, today, is alone among the vast immigrant population to face such targeted enforcement....Out of Status follows four families whose lives were permanently altered.  Access available to the MSU community and other subscribers.

Papers : stories of undocumented youth / Graham Street Productions presents ; in association with El Grupo Juvenil ; written and directed by Anne Galisky ; produced by Rebecca Shine & El Grupo Juvenil ; produced in partnership with Film Action Oregon ; produced by Graham Street Productions.  [Portland, OR] : Graham Street Productions, 2010.  1DVD  videodisc (88 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in.  KF4819 .P36 2010 VideoDVD :  "Papers" tells the story of undocumented students and the challenges they face as they turn 18 without legal status. "Papers" follows the personal stories of five undocumented youth from a variety of national origins - Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and South Korea. The film addresses the history of immigration and immigration reform, as well as issues of identity, exclusion, migration, labor history, education, depression, scape-goating and racism. Currently there are over two million undocumented children who were born outside the U.S. and raised in this country. They were educated in American schools, hold American values and know only the U.S. as home. Yet, according to current immigration law, they are "illegal immigrants." Many of them cannot speak, read, or write in their parents' native languages and live at risk of being deported, even as unaccompanied minors, to countries that are completely foreign to them. What they truly desire is to pursue their dreams and contribute to the country they call home. Sixty-five thousand undocumented students graduate every year from high school without "papers" and find the door to their futures slammed shut. It is against the law for them to work or drive. It is difficult, if not impossible, to go to college in many states. For the majority of these young people, there is no path to citizenship. The challenges these students face and their organized efforts to pass the DREAM Act are brought to light in this feature-length documentary chronicling one of the most critical civil rights struggles of our time. "Papers" includes expert commentary from political, academic and civil rights leaders from across the nation. The film was directed by Anne Galisky and produced by Rebecca Shine of Graham Street Productions, in conjunction with El Grupo Juvenil, the "Papers" youth crew, and is backed by an original hip-hop soundtrack debuting the new songs "Without Papers" and "Butterfly."  Trailer.    Cover.

Remembering Ellis Island : Everyman's Monument / Cinescope Enterprises.  Mariposa, CA : Panorama International Productions ; [S.l.] ; Distributed by Total-Content LLC, [2005].  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 60 min.) : sd., b&w and col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6484 .R464 2005 VideoDVD : The most comprehensive documentary of the Ellis Island story in all its complexity. We take you behind the scenes into the memory-haunted ruins of unrestored Ellis Island.  Narrated by Telly Savalas.

Rosevelt's America : A Refugee's Inspiring Journey to Build a New Life for His Family / Produced and directed by Roger Weisberg and Tod Lending.  2006.  26 minutes.  Streaming video from the Filmakers Library : After being tortured and narrowly escaping execution during Liberia's civil war, Rosevelt Henderson makes his way to America to start his life over again in a strange country. He brings his three children with him but is forced to leave his pregnant wife behind. Although Rosevelt was trained as a civil engineer, he doesn¹t hesitate to work day and night as a janitor, airport van driver, and assembly line worker in order to support his family. Eventually his perseverance pays off, and he is reunited with his wife who quickly gets a job as a nurse¹s aide. After years of struggle and deprivation, Rosevelt and his family are finally able to enjoy the prosperity and freedom that drew them to this country. Access limited to the MSU community and other subscribers.

Sin nombre  / Focus Features presenta a Primary Productions/Canana producción ; producida por Amy Kaufman ; escrita y dirigida por Cary Joji Fukunaga.  California : Focus Features, 2009. 1 DVD videodisc (96 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.F67 S563 2009 VideoDVD : Seeking the promise of America,a beautiful young woman, Sayra, joins her father on an odyssey to cross the gauntlet of the Latin American countryside. Along the way, she crosses paths with a teenaged Mexican gang member, El Casper, who is maneuvering to outrun his violent past. Together they have to rely on faith, trust and street smarts if they are to survive their increasingly perilous journey towards the hope of new lives.

Sin País  (Without Country) / a film by Theo Rigby.  [Harriman, NY] : [Distributed by] New Day Films, [2010] 1 DVD-R videodisc (20 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  MSU Schaeffer Law Library (Law College Clinics) VIDEO S : Sin País (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 Mejia’s settled in the Bay Area, and for the past 17 years they have worked multiple jobs to support their family, paid their taxes, and saved 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 Mejia’s 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....Sin País begins two weeks before Sam and Elida’s scheduled deportation date. After a passionate fight to keep the family together, Sam and Elida are deported and take Dulce with them back to Guatemala....With intimate access and striking imagery, Sin País explores the complexities of the Mejia’s new reality of a separated family–parents without their children, and children without their parents

Sweet Land  : A Love Story / Libero and Jeff Lipsky present a film by Ali Selim a LaSalleHolland Productions in association with Beautiful Motion Pictures ; produced by James Bigham, Alan Cumming ; written and directed by Ali Selim.  Beverly Hills, CA. : 20th Century Fox, p2007, c2006.  1 DVD-R videodisc (ca. 111 min.) : digital, col. ; 4 3/4 in  PN1995.9.M27 S9448 2007 VideoDVD :  Adapted from a Will Weaver story, Ali Selim's Sweet Land is a truly sweet story about unlikely immigrant lovers whose struggle for integration into 1920's America earns them a work ethic more American than many of their narrow-minded neighbors. Set in rural Minnesota, the sentimental film focuses on tribulations that Scandinavian settlers experienced, with a cinematic serenity reminiscent of Terrence Malik's Days of Heaven. Norwegian farmer Olaf Torvik (Tim Guinee) invites a non-English speaking German siren, Inge Alltenburg (Elizabeth Reaser), to relocate and marry him, but discovers that neither the town's Lutheran pastor (John Heard) nor the local judge will marry a German into their community for fear of wartime German spies. Inge finds friendship in neighbors Frandsen (Alan Cumming) and his wife, Brownie (Alex Kingston), who disregarding local gossip, welcome her into their home. Finally, Inge proves herself, settling in so that Sweet Land's historical narrative is framed by Inge, fifty years later, speaking to her adult son about her husband's death and their plot of land. This multi-generational tale of social acceptance and land ownership is ultimately the story of America, though the regional specificity of Sweet Land will speak especially to those familiar with Midwestern culture.

Transforming America  : U.S. History Since 1877 : Moving to the City / produced by Dallas Telelearning, Dallas County Community College District in cooporation with Bedford/St. Martin's ; content specialist, Kenneth G. Alfers ; producer/director, Julia Dyer.  Dallas, Tex : Dallas County Community College District ; New York : Insight Media [distributor], c2005. 1 VHS videocassette : sd., col. with b&w squence ; 1/2 in. JV6455 .T73 2005 Videocassette : Discusses immigrants and Americans moving into big cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, their lives in these urban areas, and their contributions to the growth of urban cities in the United States.

Under the same moon (2007)  / Fox Searchlight Pictures and The Weinstein Company present a Potomac Pictures/ Creando Films production in association with Fidecine ; produced by Gerardo Barrera, Patricia Riggen ; written by Ligiah Villalobos ; directed by Patricia Riggen.  Beverly Hills, Calif. : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, [2008]   1 DVD videodisc (110 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.F35 M5763 2008 VideoDVD : Even across thousands of miles, the special bond between a mother and son can never be broken. It gives hope to Carlitos, a scrappy nine-year-old boy whose mother, Rosario, has gone to America to build a better life for both of them. While Rosario struggles for a brighter future, fate forces Carlitos' hand and he embarks on an extraordinary journey to find her. Critics and audiences alike have praised this inspirational and heartwarming tale of a mother's devotion, a son's courage and a love that knows no borders.

Uprooted : Refugees of the Global Economy / producers, Sasha Khokha ... [et al.] and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights with the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.  [Oakland, Calif.] : National Network for Immigrant and Refugees Rights, c2001.  1 VHS videocassette (28 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. JV6471 .U67 2001 Videocassette : Describes how the global economy has forced people to leave their home countries, focusing on three stories of immigrants from the Philippines, Bolivia and Haiti.

The Visitor (2007)  / Groundswell Productions ; Next Wednesday Productions ; Participant Productions ; produced by Michael London, Mary Jane Skalski, Jeff Skoll ; written by Thomas McCarthy ; directed by Thomas McCarthy.  Burbank, CA : Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment, [2008]  1 Blu-ray videodisc (104 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997 .V574 2008 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Walter Vale is a widower who teaches economics at a Connecticut university. He lives alone and is no longer motivated by his work. In New York to present a paper at a conference, he goes to the apartment that he has not visited in some time, but has kept since his wife was alive, only to discover a young couple living there. Despite their great cultural differences, Walter befriends Tarek, a Syrian citizen and drummer, and gradually builds a friendship with Esi, his girlfriend from Senegal. One day, when returning from Central Park with Walter, Tarek is arrested for jumping a stuck subway turnstile, despite the fact that he had paid. The police discover he does not have legal papers and transfer him to an immigrant detention center in Queens. Feeling responsible for and connected to Tarek, Walter decides to stay in New York to help and support him. Not hearing from her son, Tarek's mother arrives from Michigan to find out why, and she and Walter support one another while they attempt to free Tarek.  Cast : Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira, Hiam Abbass.

Walking the Line / A film by Jeremy Levine and Landon Van Soest.  2006.  58 minutes.  Streaming video from the Filmakers Library : Walking the Line offers a harrowing view of the chaos, absurdity and senseless deaths of Mexican illegals along the U.S. - Mexico border because some American citizens are taking the law into their own hands. Southern Arizona, a region celebrated for its history of lawlessness, has become the most highly trafficked area for immigrants in the world -- and one of the most dangerous. A shift in the border policy forces migrants to cross the unforgiving desert where thousands die. Those who make it across face volatile, often armed, civilian militias. Standing in opposition to the vigilantes are humanitarians, organized to prevent migrant deaths. Confronting the growing crisis, they too find themselves on the wrong side of the law. A Tucson pastor is indicted on federal felony charges for aiding and abetting while a Native American faces banishment from his reservation for constructing water stations. Following rancher vigilantes with semiautomatic weapons, outlaw pastors with four-wheel drives, and impoverished immigrants armed only with dreams of a better life, the film explores the uncertain line between what is patriotic, what is moral, and what is just. Access available to the MSU community and other subscribers.

West of Hester Street / Media Projects Inc. ; producers, directors, writers, Cynthia and Allen Mondell. Dallas, Tex. : Media Projects, [2008?]. 1 videodisc (58 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in. E184.J5 W485 2008 Video DVD:  Faced with poverty and death, millions of Eastern European Jews poured into America in the early 1900s. They crowded into ghettos along the Eastern seaboard....Jewish leaders grew concerned that the U.S. government would soon close its doors to these new immigrants....They devised a plan to bring thousands of immigrants through the port of Galveston, Texas to settle them throughout America’s heartland....This plan became known as the “Galveston Movement”. There were even some unexpected results....“I told them I was a blacksmith,” said one greenhorn. “So who knew from a blacksmith? I had to say something. So I became a peddler. Peddler. . .shmeddler. . .if it earned me an honest living, I’d do it.” ... With great warmth and humor, West of Hester Street interweaves the dramatized events of the Galveston Movement with the story of a young Jewish peddler who journeys from Russia to Texas.

Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary / Open City Works ; produced by Heather Haynes ; written and directed by Arturo Pérez Torres ; Canada Council for the Arts.   [Washington, D.C.] : National Geographic ; Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2007], ©2004.  1 DVD videodisc (91 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6465 .W483 2007 VideoDVD   : Filmmaker Arturo Perez Torres follows in the footsteps of two friends traveling on an extraordinary and extremely dangerous journey from Central America to North America. On their journey they encounter gangs and vigilantes as well as border patrol. But these immigrants navigate real-life nightmares with uncanny calm, grace and even humor in their perilous pursuit of the a better life.  Cover.  Note: Also available as part of the ROVI Movie Collection.

Which Way Home / HBO Documentary Films presents ; in association with Good and White Buffalo Entertainment ; a Mr. Mudd Production in association with Documentress Films.  Oley, PA : Bullfrog Films, c2009.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 83 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  JV6600 .W55 2009 VideoDVD : Nominated for a 2010 Academy Award, Which Way Home, through its shocking depictions of neglected immigrant children struggling to sneak into America by train, manages to charm viewers into concern for its audacious young stars. Director Rebecca Cammisa's choice to focus almost exclusively on interviews with the train-hopping children, who range in age from roughly 8 to 18, makes this documentary infinitely more touching and effective. One gets a more well-rounded impression of the socioeconomic problem here; for every feeling of liberation the children experience, there are dangers lurking around the corner, several of which come to fruition during the filming period covered. For example, Kevin, a 14-year-old Honduran boy, and his pal, Yurico, a.k.a. "The Dog," a 17-year-old from Chiapas, occupy the bulk of the film footage, as the two boys and their cohorts ride "The Beast" through various territories. But as they skirt some sketchy situations, they can't help but tell stories of less lucky children who die on the trains en route to the United States. Additionally, tracing the aftereffects of their journey offers a less than ideal outcome for both boys. Many of the children in Which Way Home, like José from El Salvador, have experienced abandonment by their parents, who left in search of income and provided little in the way of role models. A few key scenes, like that filmed in the Guatemalan Consul where national officials interview boys before deporting them back to their home countries, and the scene showing Grupos Beta, a grassroots group that travels by van alongside the trains to provide free supplies and medical care to these children, are inspiring. Still, one comes to realize that the problem is overwhelming, as viewers gain access to the filthy flophouses, like House of Migrants, that are packed wall to wall with minors running away from home to find work. However, Cammisa captures a certain hobo humor here, which permeates the film's sad subject matter, as the boys tell jokes, lounge around with each other in the most brotherly ways, and care for each other in the absence of their parents. While Which Way Home chronicles a problem that demands attention, it does so in a touching manner, leaving its star characters' dignities intact as they confess their motivations, namely devout family loyalty.

Yellow Tale Blues : Two American Families / Directed by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima Produced by Quynh Thai.  1991.  29 minutes.  Streaming video from the Filmakers Library : The producers of Who Killed Vincent Chin? turned the camera on their own families to make this innovative documentary on ethnic stereotypes. Clips from Hollywood movies, from a vintage silent film to Breakfast at Tiffany's, reveal nearly a century of disparaging images of Asians. These images are juxtaposed with portraits of the Choys, an immigrant, working class family, and the Tajimas, a fourth-generation middle class California family. Seeing the efforts of these families to establish themselves in America makes the celluloid images seem both laughable and sad.  Access available to the MSU community and other subscribers.

Subject Guide

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Erik Ponder
African Studies Librarian
MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Dr. (E 224B)
East Lansing, MI 48824