When you attend the 15th annual Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts, you never know what treasure you will stumble upon.
Make no mistake, whatever the block, it will be a thought-provoking treat. Daniel Sol, Nicole Castro and the other programmers, really do take the time to curate a special 10-day festival.
Such is the case with the wonderfully powerful Hispanic immigration documentary, #WeLaGente (We The People) which screened Tuesday at the Chinese Theater.
The title owes its origin to a quiet little grass roots movement. As the movement gained in popularity corporate America soon caught on and began to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by tweeting or retweeting the #WeLaGente message.
Directed by John X. Cary and produced by NiteLite Pictures’ Harry Lowell and Ari Wilhelm, the 5-minute documentary successfully takes a non-political, positive, human look at real Hispanic immigration stories; putting a face to the diversity that adds to the fabric of America.
With the upcoming 2020 election, the divisive, political immigration discussions and the heart-breaking situation at the U.S. / Mexico border, this tiny, quiet film — and its big, human message —continues to gain momentum and interest with festivals and audiences.
The film is, of course, timely with immigration issues which has become a daily part of our headlines and lives. America is facing a crisis, with a political environment that demonizes immigration, and specifically Hispanic and Latino immigrants.
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Taking the bold chance to highlight this controversial issue, but removing all the inflammatory and political bias, this documentary quietly and respectfully shines a light on those who truly honor and make America great.
“We wanted to create a compelling, human story that could be watched on a phone during a train ride home,” Lowell, a Chicago native, said. “We wanted the film to spark positive discussions about immigration, while showcasing what America means to immigrants and the value of Hispanic immigrants to the tapestry of our great country.”
According to Wilhelm, the film, which was conceived and shot in six weeks, was originally intended to speak to an audience that perhaps didn’t have much knowledge or contact with Hispanic immigrants. They soon discovered that Hispanics also had a powerful connection to the film as well. “The film made the audience think of their families’ own personal immigration stories, whether a first or third generation family story,” she said.
Wilhelm, who says this doc is the project she is most proud of, added, “The biggest compliment was seeing Elle Magazine, replicating a key portion of the film, having the newly-elected House of Representatives recite the Constitution, with one line read proudly in Spanish.”
This film, which was scooped up by Comcast for distribution, has caught the attention of many entertainment platforms with requests for producer Lowell to speak about the documentary and its immigration topic, including radio shows and most recently at the Marché du Film in Cannes and the Maui Film Festival.
NiteLite Pictures/Anonymous Content
Director: John X. Carey
Producer: Harry Lowell & Ari Wilhelm
Cinematographer: Chris Saul
Editor: Philip Owens
Music: Reid Willis
Studio Executive: Jose Silva
Distributor: Comcast / Xfinity
Source: NiteLite Pictures