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Viernes Video: Documentary explores the volatile history of Latino migration to the United States

LatinaLista — The subtitle for the film Harvest of Empire is “The Untold Story of Latinos in America.” It’s a statement that begs for assumptions, especially since it seems Latinos dominate the news headlines lately and most people think they know all they need to know about Latinos.

Yet, the filmmakers of Harvest of Empire don’t focus their lens on Latinos in the United States as much as they turn the cameras south of the border. Looking at Mexico, Central and South America, the filmmakers explore the reasons why so many Latinos over the years have sought the United States as their refuge.

What results is a fascinating review of history, politics, national interests and the United States larger-than-life presence, some would argue intrusion, that upset local economies and politics to the point that some Latinos felt they had no choice but to go al norte.

The feature-length documentary is based on the book by journalist Juan González.

From the wars for territorial expansion that gave the U.S. control of Puerto Rico, Cuba and more than half of Mexico, to the covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire unveils a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S.

Since the movie delivers the backstory to Latino immigration into the United States, the filmmakers want to educate as many people as possible to show that Latino immigration isn’t just about “wanting a better life.” In many cases, it’s about wanting to save their lives.

The film will be in limited distribution and so the filmmakers are making the film available on DVD for $19.99 to people who would like see it and share it in neighborhood screenings.

However, the filmmakers’ goal goes beyond just wanting more people to see their film. Their hope is that the film becomes part of the national conversation on immigration.

As filmmakers, our hope is to spark civil dialogue and help to:

  • Challenge the negative stereotypes of Latino immigrants
  • Raise awareness about the true origins of the Latino presence in the U.S.
  • Focus attention on the contributions of Latino immigrants to our society
  • Expose the harsh language being used to describe Latinos in the media
  • Develop a deeper understanding for the real-life impact of U.S. foreign policy

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