Update on the Women in the Film
Lupe Hernandez says she feels very shy about seeing herself in the film. But she adds: "Then I feel proud to be there, I feel happy I participated. My grandchildren, if I have children one day, will know me. I can now say that I didn't just pass through life quietly. I left a mark!" and laughs.
"It's funny because when you enter the theater no one cares about you, but after the screening everyone wants to talk to you. I think they recognize the courage it takes to allow others to enter your life, and they want to thank you for that. And for being strong... I have had immigrant workers come and tell me how they identified with the stories in the film. That feels really cool".
|Lupe speaks at an event at the University California Santa Cruz in front of 400 students|
Lupe says she hopes that people don't forget the movie when they wake up the next day. That they think differently of immigrants, and that they stop to think about who makes their clothing, and about who does the many invisible jobs around them.
After working at the Garment Worker Center for several years, Lupe left to "take a break" from organizing. After working in a good garment factory, she's now considering working as an organizer again. Eventually, she says she'd like to open a cosmetics store because she "likes make-up". She thinks that women sometimes forget to take care of themselves and thus may feel bad, or forget how beautiful they really are. She feels that a cosmetics store could attract immigrant women and that it could give her a place to hold workshops for women on self-esteem.
|Lupe and Almudena at the Council on Foundations Film Festival, where Made in|
L.A. received the Henry Hampton Award.
Since Made in L.A.'s premiere, Lupe has been actively engaged in doing outreach around the film and has attended dozens of presentations, always galvanizing audiences. Young women seem particularly moved by Lupe, as her journey reflects many of the themes and issues that they may be experiencing in their lives. You can read the filmmakers' blogs about several screenings that Lupe attended including the film's San Francisco Premiere, at a presentation at SAJE, a community Center in Downtown LA, and at the Council on Foundations Film Festival, where Made in L.A. received the Henry Hampton Award. And don't miss this video of Lupe speaking at the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, where students gave her an enthusiastic standing ovation!
Maura was able to go to El Salvador to see her children, and has shown the film to her oldest son. She says she was incredibly moved to see him cry, because "finally he could understand what I went through and why I had to leave him in El Salvador and come work here."
|Robert, Joann, Almudena, Lupe and Maura at the Silverdocs Film Festival World Premiere (Photo credit Lauren Ruan AFI)|
Of the experience of being in the film, Maura says, "It feels weird, like it isn't true. Something incredible. How could I even think that one day I'd be in a movie! It didn't even cross my mind! ...I feel proud that my story can serve other people, so that workers who are not paid well don't let others exploit them. So they speak out and don't stay quiet."
Maura has also actively participated in Made in L.A. events and, in the future, she hopes to be able to save money to leave the garment industry and open her own business.
Maria says that seeing the film makes her feel sad. "I constantly ask myself: ‘why did I put up with all of it?' So it makes me feel very sad to re-live the things I went through. But then, at the same time, I feel good that other people can see that you can do it, that you can move forward and change if you want to. Just open your eyes and be strong."
|Maria and her daughter Araceli with director Almudena at a screening at Scripps college|
Maria has also been quite active in the outreach around Made in L.A. and has enthusiastically attended screening events throughout Los Angeles. At a recent event at Scripps College, Maria was received like a true star by the students!
Maria's kids often accompany her at presentations. Her son Freddie thinks that "the movie is good, because in the end everything turned out as it should have for them, as women, as workers and as immigrants. But as a son of immigrants, I feel kind of sad because everyone looks down on immigrants and treats them as though they have fewer rights than everyone else. Because our parents were immigrants they couldn't complain about anything because they were always fearful of being deported. But I think we can fight. Like the movie says: ‘united we can make it.' "
Maria's daughter, little Araceli, is starting 5th grade and doing well. She takes every opportunity to watch the film again and again and she says that "it's beautiful for people to see you in a film." She still wants to be a doctor, and now also a teacher, because "teaching is fun".
Maria recently became a US citizen. She studied hard: "I listened to the questions daily! I had to know: ‘Who's the first president of the United States?' It's George Washington!" Her hope for the future is to be able to provide for her children, so they don't lack anything and are happy.