NYC Migrant Center to Host Indie and Foreign Film Festival

Maria Hayes Around the Province

NEW YORK — As New York City prepares to host the New York Film Festival this fall, the Migrant Center at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Midtown Manhattan is inviting moviegoers to attend its first indie and foreign film festival.

The Sept. 16 to 19 festival — four feature films and four short films, all with justice and peace themes — will take place in the Province’s San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street. Tickets to the festival are free and the event is open to the public, according to Julian Jagudilla, OFM, director of the Migrant Center.

“Nile Perch,” a short film about fishing, the exportation of perch and the impact of that industry on the people of Uganda will be shown Tuesday, Sept. 16 before the feature film, “Evaporating Borders.” This film is a vignette of the lives of asylum seekers and political refugees on the island of Cyprus, a gateway to Europe for migrants from Africa and the Middle East. A multidimensional film, “Evaporating Borders” explores displacement, uncertainties and alienation. Viewers are given a feel for the “migrant diaspora” that is growing in Cyprus, according to St. Francis Church’s website. A question and answer session with director Iva Radivojevic will follow the screening.

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, the short film “A Society” will be shown. “The Society” focuses on 11 nameless strangers who are “forced to confront each other’s prejudices in order to establish a temporary and functioning society,” according to St. Francis Parish’s website. The feature film for that evening will be “Not My Life,” the story of the dehumanizing effects of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

The short film “Too Much Water / Demasiada Agua” will be shown Thursday, Sept. 18. The movie tells the story of a swimming pool that is drained of its water every night. A symbolic film, “Too Much Water” has been the subject of many interpretations. The feature film for that night will be “La Bestia / The Beast,” a documentary that provides witness to the plight of immigrants who risk their lives to board freight trains to travel from Central America, across Mexico, to the United States. “La Bestia” will also be shown on Monday, Sept. 15 in a screening that is by invitation only. A question and answer session with director Pedro Ultreras will follow.

On Friday, Sept. 19, the “heartbreaking story” of an undocumented Filipina caregiver will be featured in the short film, “Giving Care.” The week of films will conclude with “Documented,” the story of Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who publically revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant. His story “is a moving contribution in the immigration narrative in the U.S.,” according to the description on St. Francis Church’s website.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

Editor’s note: Newsletter readers — both friars and laypeople — are welcomed to submit information to the HNP Communications Office about meaningful movies for possible inclusion in future issues of HNP Today.