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  • Brandon MacMurray

Bienvenidos a Los Angeles Review




This Diversity in Cannes winner brings us a story based on true events, one that sadly many of us can relate to in modern day society where visas and immigration issues are far too prominent.


The film sets the scene by playing the audio of a news report on Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) raids against undocumented immigrants living in the US taking place in the near future. We also get a glimpse of Elizabeth, here played by Stacey Patino, the character that inspired the writer director Lisa Cole to share the story.


In the next scene we follow the single mother Imani who is a PA living and working in Los Angeles. Having spent the last seven years apart from her family in pursuit of a green card, she gets called in to the office of her manager to learn that her employment has been terminated - putting not just her livelihood at risk but also her hopes of a stable residency permit.


On her way home after the meeting she jumps in a rideshare taxi driven by Sunita, played by Rashmi Rustagi. Throughout the ride Sunita briefly shares her own struggles with applying for citizenship over the 29 years she spent in the country.





In the taxi, Imani also crosses paths with Elizabeth, who is on her way to LAX to attempt to pick up her son Christopher (Chris) flying in from Mexico. Elizabeth and Chris got split up when he was only a year old, and they have been apart for the past five years. She is living in LA as an undocumented immigrant and risks getting caught by ICE and being deported by even entering the airport. Armed with Sunitas good luck beads, Imani steps in and attempts to liaison the pickup and safely guide Chris to his mother.


On the surface this is a true to life story about the countless uncertainties and struggles immigrants face on a daily basis. But by taking a more human approach and focusing in on a snapshot of two specific stories, it goes beyond the politics of it all. This is a story about motherhood and the importance of family, about sacrifice and helping a stranger in need, even at your own risk.


This film is a grassroots project that has gained a lot of international recognition throughout the year, recently making the Oscar shortlist for live action short film. In writing the story Lisa consulted extensively with Sumangala Bhattacharya, an immigration attorney, in order to tell a realistic story even with the mix of true events (Elizabeth) and fictional characters (Imani). They are also partnering with the non-profit organization Refugee Children Center in Los Angeles, in order to raise funds and awareness for their work helping migrant children and families.


You can check our and donate to this worthy cause here: https://www.refugeechildrencenter.org/


Review by: Robin Hellgren

1 Comment


Guest
Jan 04

Thank you for this beautiful review of our film! www.BALAfilm.com

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The short end of the stick: The inferior part, the worse side of an unequal deal

When it comes to cinema and the Oscars it always feels like short films and getting the short end of the stick. Lack of coverage, lack of predictions from experts and an afterthought in the conversation. With this site we hope to change that, highlighting shorts that stick with you, predictions, and news on what is happening in the world of shorts. 

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