Animated Documentary is the ideal vehicle in the exploration of emotional narratives because it can effectively humanize politicized social issues by amplifying underrepresented voices. The anonymity of the subject places emphasis on the voice and the fluidity of the form facilitates the expression of the internal, both of which contribute to the genre’s capacity to resonate with a diverse audience.
I interviewed relatives and friends about their experience with immigration, I wanted to make a collage of stories to show that the immigrant story is our collective American story. Family is how we relate to one another. After all, we are tribal creatures.
I initially approached Nuestro País through and argumentative point, but the more I read, the more that happened in the arduous months of 2016, the more it felt wrong. We are not logical creatures—we are emotional, irrational and no amount of statistics will sway the way we think, especially when we have convinced ourselves that we are in some sort of perceived danger.
A country sending their worst—criminals, rapists, job-stealers, some may be good people—was the rhetoric that sparked this reactionary piece. Although this started from a place of rage, it eventually became a quieter, meditative film that captured the immigrant experience as only I knew it—through my mother’s voice.
Growing up, I was very familiar with the story of how my parents arrived to this country. I knew that my mother couldn’t easily travel to Mexico to see her family because she didn’t have “papers.” It was this lack of papers that could potentially take my mother away from me. Work hard, earn your stay, be rewarded with the coveted green card so you can finally see your family after serving your penance of being away from them for decades. But this sentiment is merely a myth. It was through pure luck that my family was able to file for and receive permanent residency. My mother is now a citizen of the United States of America. Still, she remains split in half by this artificial border. Grateful for the opportunity to chase the American Dream but will forever carry the burden of being away from her family for so many years because she did not possess that set of arbitrary papers.
As our situation becomes more and more polarized, I hope that this film provides a sort of context and captures some of the infinite nuances in an issue that quite frankly should be a non-issue. Everyone has a family and everyone has the right to pursue the elusive American Dream. No human being is illegal. Papers do not determine whether a human being is deserving of basic human rights. This is our home. This is our country. This is our story.