Award-winning film tugs at heartstrings

There was not a dry eye in the UC Theater after yesterday’s screening of the award-winning film, “La Jaula de Oro” (The Golden Dream).

Despite technical difficulties with the inability to include English subtitles, the film captivated the audience. It focused on three Guatemalan juveniles trying to emigrate to the United States. The film explored the grittiness of what children experience on such a dangerous journey. The screening comes at a very pivotal time, as the U.S. government continues to battle over immigration laws and reform.

The film received nine Ariel Awards, three awards at the Cannes Film Festival and 78 international film festival awards.

Viewers were moved by the film. Students like pre-business freshman Alec Benavides came to watch the film for a sociology class. He walked out feeling more emotional than he expected.

“I was actually really engaged, and it made me think about what life is like for these people,” Benavides said. “It’s hard to explain (my emotions) because the movie really took me aback.”

UH alumna Jasmine Jenkins was also impressed with the film.

“I recieved my Ph.D in political science, so I’ve spent a lot of time studying Latin American politics,” Jenkins said. “There are a lot of immigration films out there, and I think this one is very telling and great at getting the point across.

After the screening, a panel including Luis L. Salinas, Lorenzo Cano, Cynthia Colbert, Sandra Guerra Thompson and UH student representative Karla Perez engaged in a Q&A with the audience. Viewers asked questions about the film and current actions happening today.

“There were over 66,000 unaccompanied children that had been apprehended crossing the border, nearly double the number from 2013,” said moderator and associate political science professor Jason Casellas.

“Although the film is based on a fictional migrant story, the film producer, Salinas, tried to portray realistic situations of juveniles crossing the border.

“We wanted to portray this as honest as possible,” Salinas said. “All of them are based on actual situations and testimonies that migrants told us.”

Luis revealed that the children in the film are not actors and that the film producers do stay in touch with them. They offer assistance such as scholarships and support to help them achieve some of their goals and needs.

“We are close friends and we do keep in touch,” Salinas said.

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