April 16th, 2012
Submissions book goes to print.
Updates to the website coming real soon.
March 31st, 2012
Andrew sat in as a model for still shots - also a placeholder for his family’s story in the booklet. Unedited preview.
March 31st, 2012
Interviews in the studio. Special thanks to the participants - Bryan Ahn, Biel Parklee, Sasha Bromberg, Ao Kang, Victor Ifante and Ethan Sung. Directed by myself, shot and lit by Eric Halberstadt.
Re-branding What Exists:
In my research I’ve found that their are a few websites in existence that tell immigration stories. Unfortunately, they are not very well represented or organized. The content and caring nature is present but there is a lack of visual language that is necessary in carrying the information properly. As we know in our study of design, the relationship between visuals and communication is essential to successfully deliver a message. With a message of such great importance like immigration reform it needs to be coupled with a well formed website of informational piece. The social advocacy for immigrants is there, but it needs someone to develop the collateral.
Faces of Immigrants | Justice for Immigrants
In my time at the School of Visual Arts I’ve learned that avoiding clichés should always be on the forefront of my mind. Seeing as the American Dream and “helping” people can be easily perceived as exploitative and expected I need to approach the topic with care. I have been compiling a “forget-me-not,” list to keep myself grounded and away from the ordinary -
1.) Those who are classified as immigrants are not necessarily victims. Yes, they are a victim of a broken system, but immigrants come from all different (financial) backgrounds. People most typically associate immigrants to be of a lower class but that isn’t always the case. Even though I took my inspiration from a personal experience involving lower class waiters and busboys from a restaurant does not mean that this project does not apply to those who are in better financial situations.
2.) Not every documentary should look like a documentary. I feel like people associate a particular look with documentaries. Seeing as my thesis is of an experimental nature I think it’s important to deviate from the norm. This refers to ANYTHING when it comes to shooting a film. It could be something as simple as moving a subject from one part of the frame to the next or it could be taking the subject and placing them in an alternate, unexpected environment.
Creating Design Related Marketing Materials:
Most popular films today are promoted with familiar photography grabbed from the film itself. My interest and experience in publishing has taught me to push past obvious solutions for promotion. Above is the poster for the documentary, "Objectified," which I find to be quite successful.
Story + Environment:
The look of my intended documentary (name to be considered) is to have a strong focus not only on story but also, environment. It will be split into two segments - first, an interview process where I will ask a series of questions involving the details of the person’s experience with coming to America. Second, will show them in them operating in their environment, this does not have to necessarily be in their work place but could be showing them in their home or taking part in something they could not take part in out of the states.
An exploration of both the existential concept of immigration and the practical aspects of immigrant reform.
The above comment was found on the “Borderland” documentary that I posted. It is very interesting to observe the interaction between Vimeo user Steve Mann and Colin Fahrion. They both take opposing sides on the matter of immigration laws in the United States.
Steve Mann makes a point that the world is a place not meant for borders and humans should be free to roam without permission or consequence. Basically stating that there should be no such concept of immigration laws, or really just the concept of immigration. People move amongst land and that’s natural just as animals do. Colin on the other hand takes the opposing side by saying that animals are not treated and seen as people are, and that all immigrants should be filling out paperwork. Very literal to say the least. Colin’s negative attitude toward Steve’s comment shows the hostility that Americans hold against immigrants.
"Borderland," is a short film documentary highlighting the lives of Dick and Ron, two men defending their territory by the border of California. The piece speaks about how a lot of people illegally coming over the border are smuggling "dope," (heroine, etc.) and are not coming to the United States to make an honest living. Dick is father to a daughter addicted to "dope," and feels that personally protecting more drugs from entering the United States is his moral responsibility.
The film is shot wonderfully and delivers a powerful message but does shed negative light on people attempting to migrate to the US. People who already associate Mexican immigration as “bad news,” may use the information as the only information that matters in regards to immigration, rights and entry.
This post is relevant to my thesis because what I seek to achieve with my short docu-style film is to show the stories of immigrants in America attempting to make an honest living. Those who arrive in America to achieve the assumed clichè of the American dream and create a livable situation for themselves and their families are frequently overlooked by American citizens and residents.
The underlying issue is that the crisis surrounding immigration is not merely about immigration status, but about accepting that the country is undergoing a deep identity crisis and soaring xenophobia, which has been exacerbated by widespread unemployment and a global recession. With major news networks like CBS hosting segments that ask: “Are illegal immigrants taking American jobs?” it is clear that some Americans blame undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Mexican, for the lack of jobs and economic opportunity. The government shifting its policy to focus on removing immigrants, instead of integrating them, has contributed to this problem.
The United States can learn from how Argentina handled a similar crisis. In 2006, then-President Néstor Kirchner started a progressive programme called Patria Grande (Great Country) as a humanitarian act that encouraged undocumented immigrants in Argentina to register with local authorities. He was touched by the death of six Bolivian immigrants, who had died in a sweatshop blaze in March of that year. Those with no criminal records could apply for a two-year residency work visa if they could prove that they were citizens of countries affiliated with the Mercosur trading block, a free trade agreement between certain Latin American countries. The astonishing response from eager immigrants resulted in an estimated 400,000 people voluntarily registering and being granted residency visas.
Despite flaws in the programme, Argentina was able to reduce black market labour, as well as generate additional tax funds. The fear that immigrants could take away jobs from citizens was removed when they soon discovered that most Argentines did not want jobs that immigrants were willing to take.
US immigration conundrum