Under attack by the anti-immigrant rhetoric that plagues the highest circles of power, young undocumented creators have embraced budget-less filmmaking to fight generalizations, ignorance, and the unrealistic standards they are held to because of their status. Undeterred by their circumstances and armed with their stories, these artists are tackling the undocumented experience through humor, mood pieces, traditional documentaries, and even web series.
A collection of these works created over the last decade will be exhibited as part of an art installation titled Con Camaras Y Sin Papeles in the lobby of the TCL Chinese Theatre during LALIFF 2018. This year, the festival is collaborating with CultureStrike, a nonprofit whose focus is on supporting art geared towards spotlighting social justice issues, and they are bringing undocumented storytellers to the heart of Hollywood. Not only is the installation a move for wider visibility, but also an educational opportunity for those who are unfamiliar with the reality of undocumented life in this country.
Curated with the help of acclaimed artist Rafa Esparza, this selection of short videos represents a myriad of genres and worldviews all encompassed within the undocumented realities in America. Featured creatives include activist Angy Rivera, who is behind the popular YouTube channel Ask Angy and who was the subject of the 2015 documentary No Le Digas a Nadie; Armando Ibañez, who advocates for “undocuqueer” struggles through his episodic venture Undocumented Tales; as well as other fresh talents like Marco Nieves and his three-part short doc Almost American.
Attendees at LALIFF will have the opportunity to engage with the material during the five-day event between screenings and events. With over a dozen different pieces, all equally fascinating and insightful, each visit will deliver new information that refutes the false statements about undocumented people perpetuated by racist figures and will replace them with connections that reaffirm our shared humanity.
The significance of calling attention to undocumented voices cannot be overstated. Their prominence at the festival as part of the LALIFF Art section reiterates the values that guide every programming decision: Our stories, all of them, matter.
The 2018 festival runs June 20-24 at TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood.