A Film Festival That Puts a Face on Immigration

From Oct. 23 – 26, theaters in the D.C. area will be hosting the Greater Washington Immigration Film Fest.

screenshot-by-nimbus (1)Out of the 13 movies featured in the festival, four will be viewed in Montgomery County.

Over four days, movies about immigration will be screened on venues including churches, and other spaces in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.

Patricia Absher, co-chair of the Greater Washington Immigration Film Festival, said the event is free and was an idea born out of a conversation among friends about immigration reform. They wanted to bring people together to “experience” immigration through storytelling.

“We wanted to get more people sitting down and focusing on immigration and what immigration means here in the U.S.,” Absher said.

In Montgomery County, the public can watch movies in Bethesda, Rockville, and Silver Spring. For a full list of films, visit the festival’s website. To get free tickets, residents must order online at www.immigrationfilmfest.org or be willing to give a small financial donation at the door.

Participants of the festival’s committee also volunteered at CASA de Maryland, an immigration assistance and advocacy nonprofit, where they aided people with citizenship application and young undocumented immigrants to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals– a federal program that allows qualified recipient to work legally in the U.S.

The group of friends called themselves the steering committee.

“We went to Unitarian Churches in the area because we were already involved with their social justice, and we said ‘Are you interested in joining us in doing this festival?'” Absher said.

Absher added that they got a lot of financial support in order to keep the event free to the public.

“We did crowdsourcing and we got five thousand dollars,” she said adding that the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility group helped with $20,000.

For the first festival, the group wanted to highlight movies to inspire other. They considered close to 120 films.

“We are not asking people to do anything, except to come out and watch the movies,” she said.

The co-chair also said the festival is not only about Latinos. There are movies that reflects immigrants from India, Palestine, and Ireland.

“We really want this to be an annual festival. … Because we believe that immigration is one of the greater social issues of our time … It’s not just something that happens in our country,” Absher said.



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Aline Barros

About Aline Barros

Aline Barros is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at Abarros@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @AlineBarros2.


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