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Month of March, 2008

Northern California Tour -San Francisco

We're on the road! We left Los Angeles yesterday to "tour" with Made in L.A. in Northern California.

The drive to San Francisco was extremely beautiful -I remember the road being dry and boring, but it is now March and the fields were so green that I felt we were traveling through Scotland! :) And, of course, all the fruit trees in the agricultural valleys of central California are in full blossom, which makes for an amazingly beautiful and colorful journey!

We drove straight from L.A. to the Brava Theater in San Francisco, in the heart of the Mission district. Charlotte von Hemert, from the International Latino Film Society, which had organized this screening, let us stop by her apartment where we changed and dashed over to the theater around the corner. The Brava is a gorgeous renovated art deco theater, and even the organizers were surprised at the turn out! More than 150 people were there, and it was one of the screenings where people laughed the most! When you make a film you know that some parts are kind of funny, and that some parts are kind of sad, but until you put it out there you don't know how different audiences will react to it. It's incredibly beautiful to see people so engaged and reacting to the film in such a way. The Q&A was varied, but we had a very nice conversation about ways of organizing and about how the organizing methods shown in Made in L.A. could be applied to day-laborers and to workers in other industries.

Afterwards, about 30 people from the screening went for drinks in the neighborhood filmmakers, organizers, friends, etc and had a great time. We got to the hotel at 2am!


Afterwards at drinks: Annelise Wunderlich, our wonderful Production Manager at ITVS,
Robert, Almudena and Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, fellow filmmaker from
NALIP's Latino Producers Academy and Director of ITVS-funded "Going on 13"

(This event was sponsored by the International Latino Film Society, with Global Exchange, Active Voice, Instituto Laboral de la Raza, and California Newsreel)

Northern California Tour - Palo Alto

On our second day we went to Palo Alto for a screening with Progressive Jewish Alliance, which had organized this event as the kick off for their "Mid-Peninsula" chapter.

It was fantastic to screen the film within a faith community, and to reach an audience that included many retirees, as so many of our screenings have been for student groups. It was very emotional for a lot of people, who talked about their family experiences and especially how they related to the Tenement Museum scene in Made in L.A., which connects the story of today's immigrants to Jewish immigrants who came to the Lower East Side in the early 1900s. (To read a blog about my visit to the Tenement Museum last December click here). Many women were crying when they approached us afterwards... One of the organizers told us: "This film does half our work for us".

With organizers Sara Bolder and Zachary Lazarus (Michael Kahan had just left!)

Northern California Tour - Santa Cruz

On Monday, our third stop, we went to the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Lupe was able to join us for the day! The organizers had gotten an article in the university newspaper, and had created special postcards and posters for the event, so when we arrived on campus students spotted Lupe and approached all of us as if they had seen a celebrity!

There was a beautiful reception before the screening at the Chicano/Latino Resource Center, where we met with students and where the organizers gave us nice presents as thank you gifts... After heading to the screening venue, we were amazed to see groups of students keep arriving and arriving ... By the end, the organizers counted 450 students!!! Imagine that many students laughing at the same time, crying at same time and experiencing the film together. As the credits rolled, Robert and I went on stage with Lupe, and were welcomed with a long, emotional, standing ovation!

450 students in a standing ovation!


Following a bilingual Q & A, a long line of students formed to talk to us and to get their DVDs and postcards autographed. Lupe was regarded a bit like a rock star, with a long line of young Latina students surrounding her for more than 45 minutes. It was all extremely beautiful and inspiring, and the event helped us begin to understand the power of the film to move young Latinas and Latinos, especially whose parents are immigrants, to make them feel proud of who they are, and to inspire them to action.


Lupe sorrounded by a long line of Latinas waiting to talk to her!
With some of the organizers of the event: Dana Frank, Robert, Almudena, Lilly Pinedo, Rocio, Lupe, and Rosalee Cabrera.

As a result of this screening, we received an invitation from the Reel Work Film Festival in Santa Cruz, so we will be back there in town on April 26th!!! (details to come -if you want to stay updated join our list or visit our screenings page periodically).

(This event was sponsored by: The Chicano Latino Resource Center (CLRC), Labor Studies, EL CENTRO: Chicano Latino Resource Center, Women of Color Research Cluster and Stevenson College)

Northern California Tour - Stanford

On Tuesday, our 4th day of the tour, we visited Stanford. We met with different student groups throughout the day, and had a big screening at night. Our schedule was busy indeed: we had lunch at the amazing Casa Zapata, then we did a guest lecture at (Professor and Filmmaker) Jan Krawitz's "Documentary Perspectives" class, had a meeting with the students at El Centro Chicano, and then a reception with the different student and campus organizations that had sponsored the event. It was moving to see the reaction to the film from a very diverse group of students, especially from groups that have been so active around anti-sweatshop issues. Last year the Stanford "Sweatfree" campaign and their sit-in gained so much publicity that our broadcaster, PBS POV series invited students from the campaign to write something about the film on the POV website!


This event was sponsored by: The Riddell Fund and Residential Education. Collaborators: Okada, Casa Zapata, Asian American Activities Center, El Centro Chicano, Film Studies, Sweatfree Campaign, Stanford Asian American Activism Coalition, MEChA, and CSRE.
Robert talks to Anne Takemoto, Resident Fellow at the Okada House, who put all the event together! 

Northern California Tour - Sacramento

On Wednesday, our 5th day on the road, we had a lunchtime screening at Sacramento State University. This event is a testament to the kind of grassroots organizing that the film can incite: last October we received an e-mail from a student named Devin Yoshikawa, who had seen Made in L.A. on PBS and loved it. Devin was a business student at Sacramento State, and when I told him that there was a possibility we could come there as part of our tour, he moved heaven and earth to make our SAC state visit a reality! He gathered support from other campus organizations, including the Multi Cultural Center and Professor Eric Vega, he contacted local newspapers, got the event listed in the Sacramento Bee, made flyers and posted them across campus. As a result, we had a full house and a marvelous event! In addition, a UNITE-HERE representative was able to join the screening, which resulted in a very interesting discussion around issues of fair labor and sweatshops...

With organizers Devin Yoshikawa and Professor Eric Vega

One of the attendees who had heard about the event in the Sacramento Bee was a retired college counselor who is still very involved - within minutes we arranged for the film to screen at the upcoming Latina Leadership Conference in San Jose!

(This event was sponsored by: The Multi-Cultural Center, M.E.Ch.A., The Serna Center, The Campus Progressive Alliance, TeamTeca, La Rosa Network, Ethnic Studies Department and Womens Resource Center.)

Northern California Tour - Davis

Right after Sac State we headed to UC Davis for the closing night of the tour. It was another success and a packed house! Interestingly, a huge part of the organizing was done via facebook -within 2 days of sending the invitation, the event had already 100 confirmed attendees! (We've now set up our own facebook page for Made in L.A. -Check it out here!)

It was also very interesting to connect with student issues on campus, in particular because one of the sponsoring orgs was Speak, a student group fighting for the rights of undocumented students. After the long and super interesting Q&A, we had another long line of students waiting to sign their DVDs!

Afterwards we went for a fun bilingual dinner with Prof. Almerindo Ojeda (second in line in the photo), director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas (who gathered all the support from the rest of sponsoring organizations), with Neta Borshansky (first in line in the photo), who put flyers all across campus,  and with new-made friends!

(Moises Park, who made the flyers and helped with the event, had drum practice and couldn't join us...).

It was the perfect closing event!

(This event was presented by the UCDavis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas and co-sponsored by the Hemispheric Institute in the Americas, the Law School, The Department of Spanish, Women and Gender Studies, Chicana/o Studies, and Scholars Promoting Education Awareness and Knowledge -SPEAK.)

Closing thoughts on our Northern California tour

Our Northern California tour was an intense and invigorating experience. Without doubt, it exceeded our expectations, and the expectations of the organizers of each of the events as well! Each screening was its own unique experience, and it was amazing to see students moved to tears as they explained what the film meant to them. Some actually said that they've never seen anything like Made in L.A., that "it's better than films in theaters!", that Maria (one of the main characters) reminds them of their own mothers, and that, in Lupe or Maria, they have, for the first time found a role model to remember and to inspire them every time they feel like giving up...

After 5 days, 7 screenings and 1200+ miles on the road, we have learned a lot and we have been inspired by how many people and groups have come together for each event. It is a testament to how many layers the film has, and it reaffirms our belief that there's still so very much to do with Made in L.A. After five and a half years in the making, this is the most beautiful part, where we bring the film into the communities that need it, to help educate and empower people. This is, simply, the reason why we made the film - our mission.

To read more about how we organized this tour, check our blog posting at POV's website.

Here's a compilation of some photos from the trip. Enjoy!

 

Almudena wins Estela Award!

At the recent NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) conference Almudena was awarded the Estela Award in Documentary, which "honors talented Latino/a filmmakers who, either through a stunning debut or a steady rise in a relatively short period of time, have distinguished themselves through their work to date. This award is for filmmakers whose achievements reveal leadership, creativity, and tenacity, as well as vision and passion for their craft."

It was a very beautiful ceremony, and it was an honor to receive the award from the hands of Mexican director Luis Mandoki, whom I admire so much. (His film Innocent Voices broke my heart...) This award means a lot, especially because NALIP has played such a wonderful role during the development of the project. I still remember the first NALIP conference I attended, back in 2004, where I started to understand what it takes to make this kind of doc. After that, the project was nurtured at the Latino Producers Academy (and it was so beautiful to go again 4 years later, last July, to show the finished film to the new fellows!). NALIP is an amazing community and I am humbled and grateful for all of their support!

Believe it or not, NALIP put together a tribute reel for the awards ceremony! Hats off to the creators Sixto Melendez, Javier Gomez and Marcos Najera (narrator):

 


Made in L.A. continues its international festival tour!

April will be the most international month for Made in L.A. yet, as it continues its international festival tour!

It will premiere in France at the prestigious Paris International Human Rights Film Festival, and Robert and I will be in attendance!

Made in L.A. will have its Israeli premiere at the prestigious Docaviv Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival!

The German premiere will be at the touring CineLatino Filmfestival, which travels to the cities of Tübingen, Stuttgart, Fráncfort, Heidelberg y Friburgo in Germany!

Our Italian premiere will be at the Rome Independent Film Festival!

Made in L.A. will play for the second time in Korea at the wonderful International Women's Film Festival in Seoul and for the second time in Mexico City at the Voces Contra el Silencio Film Festival!

Finally, to close the month, the Gdansk DocFilm Festival "Dignity and Work" will premiere Made in L.A. in Poland!

Upcoming US screenings

Don't miss all the other screenings happening in the country! Besides a large number of community screenings that are taking place, Made in L.A. will have a "Special Feature" screening at the San Diego Indie Music Fest, and it will screen at the Chicago Latino Film Festival, at the Arizona International Film Festival, at the Reel Work Film Festival, and finally, it'll be the closing night film of the LA Harbor International Film Festival in a special event sponsored by the ILWU!

We're also planning a mini-tour in New England! More info coming soon!

To see details on these and other events, check our screenings page!

Join us on Facebook!

We have a facebook page!

Become our fans and please share the page with your friends! Check us out at our Made in L.A. Facebook page!

 

Governor Bill Richardson comments on Made in L.A.

Governor Bill Richardson wrote a nice piece on Made in L.A. for POV website, and, since he's been in the news lately, we wanted to take the opportunity to share it here with you:

"Immigration - under any guise - is one of the defining issues of our age. With "Made in L.A.," Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar show in vivid detail that, at a fundamental level, this is not simply an issue of competitive intermingling of people, but that it is also an issue of the assault on universal human dignity in the face of enormous global economic pressures. Ultimately though, they show that despite the political or economic vices twisting down upon the planet, the elementary human spirit remains the most powerful force at work."

Read more reactions to Made in L.A.!

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