“The melting pot analogy has now become a tossed salad. Nobody assimilates,” said one Latina woman showcased in Carlos von Son’s documentary film, “Border Piece.” The film shown on Nov. 14 revolved around the 2006 border crisis and controversy of undocumented workers in America.
Documenting the parades, protests and conflicts between the anti-amnesty citizens and those that support it, Von Son sheds light on a controversial battlefield of intolerance.
The film was what Von Son called an unbiased “chronological documentary” where each event taped occurred in real time order. The events shown were taped through the year of 2006 and early 2007.
In the film, many illegal immigrants spoke of their determination to work in the United States. “We only came here to work, nothing else,” said one man who had recently crossed the border illegally.
In order to survive, immigrants may spend many days and nights determined to cross the border. The cause? Their families living in poverty.
To balance the documentary, people against illegal immigrants in America were also interviewed. One man said that he didn’t like to see “Americans not getting work the ‘illegals’ are taking.”
Supporters responded by saying the jobs illegal immigrants were taking were those that Americans wouldn’t do.
“We are not terrorists, we are workers!” Protestors as they walked the streets of San Diego. One supporter stated that majority of these illegal immigrants come to America with the sole intent of sending their earnings back to Mexico to their families.
Gasps escaped from the audience, as new scenes of protests flashed across the screen.
“The film was inspiring and motivating,” audience member Saba Gebretsadik said after the viewing. Her parents were also immigrants that came from Ethiopia around 1980, which she said gave her personal understanding on the process. “It’s very expensive to gain citizenship, and the price goes up all the time.”
Gebretsadik said that she thought we needed to come to a compromise with the illegal immigrants and make the cost of citizenship much lower and more attainable.
“They need to do something about the process, it’s too expensive and these people have nothing.” said audience member Janel Valdez. “This is why they are crossing illegally all the time.”
Feeling tension from the minutemen, Von Son tried to remain neutral throughout the film. He said he wanted the audience to have the full benefit of deciding on what side of the fence they stood.
In 2005 Von Son developed Dionisio Productions, and produced an award winning film, “Ofrenda Desnuda” prior to “Border Piece.”
“We’re independent so we really have very little resources,” said Von Son. To make his latest documentary he used half of his retirement fund. He will be visiting other colleges and universities to promote his film after the final edits are made.
Von Son has also developed a non-profit organization called the Educational Media Performing Arts Organization, or EMPAO, which will help propel his documentaries and efforts to highlight the issues surrounding our social problems with different cultures.