6 items from 2010
[Our thanks to Josh Hurtado for another review from the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, this time of a potentially incendiary documentary.]
In 2007, Prince William county in Virginia passed a law requiring that its police officers verify the immigration status of anyone whom they had "probable cause" to believe were in the country illegally. In 2010, Arizona passed a similar law. I wonder if they got a chance to watch this film before taking a step down that path? They may have thought twice if they had.
Perhaps it is my own naïveté, but I wouldn't have thought of Prince William county, or really any non-border state as the ground zero for an immigration debate. In the early 2000's, during the height of the economy's boom times, Prince William was experiencing a construction boom, and immigrant workers filled many of those jobs, perhaps too many. This film documents the struggle behind passing this law and follows both sides every move on the way toward a resolution.
The film began as a series of »
[Our thanks to Liz Reed from MangaLife.com for this review from the Asian Film Festival of Dallas]
While 9500 Liberty documents an issue that consumed a Virginia county three years ago, the film couldn't be more relevant or provide more forewarning to Arizona's current immigration bill, which passed in April. When Prince William County lawmakers presented an immigration resolution in 2007 bent on deporting illegal aliens from the community using "probable cause," or giving the police the authority to question a person they suspect is undocumented, the community became divided racially, socially, and economically.
Asian-American directors Eric Byler and Annabel Park openly admit in the film that their involvement in the immigration debate goes beyond their role behind the camera, and they never look back, or apologize. While this bias seems to paint the conservative, anti-immigration residents of Manassas, Virginia as the racist villains (especially the film's selection of citizen speakers from town hall meetings: "Remember who was responsible for 9/11. It was the illegals"), chances are you have already »
[Thanks to our friend Josh Hurtado for providing an advance look at the schedule.]
It is July. For me this means gearing up for my annual marathon movie event, the Asian Film Festival of Dallas. The organizers have been tossing hints at titles out via facebook and Twitter, but yesterday they finally let the cats out of the bag.
This year Affd is screening 30+ features as well as their usual shorts programs. I'm pretty sure this may be their biggest festival ever in terms of variety. The schedule looks great, with some really awesome titles and some surprises (which are almost always my favorite part!). Affd has a newly redesigned website that makes it easy to explore the titles, watch trailers, make your own schedule, and learn about the events. Facebook friends and Twitter followers are always the first to know about cool events and news, so be sure to check them out there as well as the official site for all the latest! »
I have seen a few pretty good documentaries this year, including October Country and Big River Man, but 9500 Liberty is something else. This could be the future of documentaries. I have been looking for ways that documentaries could break out of their tired formats, using talking heads and clips, or else that old pompous, preachy, "this is good for you" tone, and this movie by Eric Byler and Annabel Park has done it. It follows the progress of an anti-immigration law in Virginia. With everyone fighting and taking sides, the filmmakers discover that they are in possession of the most complete and accurate information, and so they begin to take part in their own story. In addition, they posted bits and pieces of the film on YouTube, further changing the direction of their coverage. It's a living, breathing film.
Die-hard film buffs may recognize Eric Byler's name. He has »
- Jeffrey M. Anderson
As I noted last week, filmmaker Eric Byler was in Austin to promote 9500 Liberty, currently playing at the Dobie (Don's review). The documentary depicts the battleground in Virginia and on the Internet over an anti-immigration policy, the "Immigration Resolution," that the Prince William County board of supervisors adopted in 2008. To counteract the racial divisions that occurred in their community, county residents formed a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual town halls. The inflammatory showdown between the groups had profound and devastating social and economic impacts in their community.
Byler and Annabel Park not only co-directed 9500 Liberty, but co-founded the political action group Coffee Party USA in response to the politics that enabled the Virginia anti-immigration law to pass. Byler is the YouTube/Online Media Coordinator for the group, and has created a number of videos about political issues.
As he mentions in his interview, Byler screened two of his feature »
- Debbie Cerda
Arizona's new immigration law has provoked accusations of racial profiling, since it gives police the power to stop and detain suspects if they have "reasonable suspicion" they are in the country illegally. The law has triggered a national debate about immigration and the role that local and state authorities play in enforcing federal laws. A new documentary shines a spotlight on the social and economic impacts of immigration policies, including racial profiling.
The documentary 9500 Liberty, directed and produced by SXSW Award Winner Eric Byler (Americanese) and Coffee Party Movement founder Annabel Park, depicts the battleground in Prince William County, Virginia and on the Internet in the battle over immigration policy. Anti-immigration networks used online media to frighten local lawmakers and citizens in Prince William County. In order to counteract the racial divisions that occurred in their community, residents formed a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual townhalls. The inflammatory showdown »
- Debbie Cerda
6 items from 2010
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