CLAS Cosponsors Film Series on Immigration

by Colin Andrew, LACS MA student/CLAS Communications Assistant

From Llévate mis amores (2014).


The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at the University of Chicago is excited to announce the cosponsorship of South Side Projection’s film series focusing on undocumented immigration.

South Side Projections is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to presenting films on Chicago’s South Side in order to promote community conversation revolving around current political and social issues. South Side Projections focuses on seldom-seen films of historical and artistic value for the South Side community that are oftentimes followed by discussions led by scholars, activists, and filmmakers.

This upcoming film series on undocumented immigration will present five films that highlight the impact of migration on both sides of the US-Mexico border. The films will share stories of why individuals decide to immigrate to the United States, the struggles immigrants must confront on their journey northward, the challenges they face once they arrive in the United States, and the triumphs of these immigrants in their new communities.

Michael W. Phillips, Jr., founder and director of South Side Projections, has been actively involved in the Chicago film world for a number of years, and his previous positions have included founding director of Black Cinema House, founding film programmer of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, cinematheque and videotheque manager of Facets Multi-Media, and last director of the Bank of America Cinema. Phillips says that the inspiration for the new film series was the current presidential administration’s war on both undocumented and documented immigrants.

The border wall, the fight over DACA, ICE raids that separate parents from their children, travel bans, the fact that the administration is thinking about rescinding temporary protected status for Syrian refugees and sending them back into a war zone....Every day there's a new outrage. This list of topics is too broad to do justice to all of them, so we focused on undocumented immigration from Central America and Mexico as a subject that has a lot of local angles that we could cover in detail in a short series. It's still not exhaustive—there are so many films out there that we could have included, but we whittled the list down to a handful.

—Michael W. Phillips, Jr.
South Side Projections

Phillips hopes that this film series provides an opportunity for non-immigrants to come learn something from individuals with personal experiences of immigration, including why people decide to leave their homes, how living in fear of deportation and ICE raids affect families, and how being undocumented affects everyday life. Moreover, the film series can possibly provide immigrants a sense of solidarity as they see stories like their own and then have an opportunity to share their stories. Ultimately, Phillips and South Side Projections hope that the films empower and inspire audiences. Phillips summarizes, "In general, I hope the screenings are useful as a small part of the much broader efforts in Latino communities to reclaim the narrative about undocumented immigration."

What I really want to get across is that these screenings are an invitation to non-immigrants to come learn something from people with personal experiences of immigration, and a request to immigrants or the families of immigrants to share their stories and fill in the gaps left by sound-bites and headlines on Facebook.

—Michael W. Phillips, Jr.
South Side Projections

Llévate mis amores will be the first film of the series to be showcased. This highly anticipated showing will be at 7pm on February 28, 2018, at La Catrina Café. We hope to see you there!

Films to be screened include:

Llévate mis amores (All of Me): 2014, 90 min.

This documentary, directed by Arturo González Villaseñor, tells the stories of a group of women from the town of La Patrona, Mexico, who work to give food and water to migrants clinging onto the trains heading north towards the US.
Watch the trailer here.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
La Catrina Café (1011 W 18th Street, Chicago, IL)

The Other Side of Immigration: 2009, 55 min.

Directed by Roy Germano, this documentary film examines the theme of why so many people leave rural Mexico in search of jobs in the United States and how this immigration affects Mexican communities.
Watch the trailer here.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Casa Michoacan (1638 S Blue Island, Chicago, IL)

Don’t Tell Anyone (No le digas a nadie): 2015, 75 min.

Directed by Mikaela Shwer, this documentary film showcases the life of Angy Rivera, who, undocumented herself, works as an activist for undocumented youth and writes a popular advice column.
Watch the trailer here.
Friday, April 13, 2018, 5:30 p.m.
Yollocalli Arts Reach (2801 S Ridgeway Ave, Chicago, IL)

Elvira: 2009, 70 min.

Elvira Arellano, working without legal documents at O’Hare International Airport, is arrested in an anti-terrorism sweep of US airports. This documentary, directed by Javier Solórzano Casarin, showcases Elvira’s struggle.
Watch the trailer here.
Saturday, May 19, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 E 60th St, Chicago)


Follow CLAS or South Side Projections on Facebook for announcements about the film series.