'Best Documentary' pictures immigrant's plight

On May 8, Peninsula College's Magic of Cinema film series will screen "El Imigrante," the fourth film in a series that concentrates on U.S./Mexican relations and Mexican-American families. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the college's Little Theater, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.

"El Imigrante" was released in 2005 and won Best Documentary or Best Feature at no less than seven festivals. It was named an "official selection" at 21 others.

"El Imigrante" examines the Mexican and American border crisis by telling the story of Eusebio de Haro, a young Mexican migrant who was shot and killed during one of his journeys north. The film presents a distinct humanitarian focus. Story and character take precedence in this true border narrative.

The cast includes actual members of the de Haro family and the community of Brackettville, Texas, where de Haro was shot. Other cast include vigilante border militias in Arizona, the horseback border patrol in El Paso, Texas, and migrants en route to an uncertain future in the United States.

Variety film critic Ronnie Scheib is one of many who have praised the documentary.

"What distinguishes 'El Imigrante,'" he says, "is less the dramatic shooting death and miscarriage of justice at its

center than the unusual sensitivity and openness of filmmakers John Sheedy, David Eckenrode and John Eckenrode to the distinctive rhythms and belief systems of people on both

sides of the border."

Sheedy is originally from eastern Oregon and the Eckenrode brothers grew up in Durango, Colo.

David Eckenrode received a bachelor's degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, and his brother John studied at Reed College in Portland, Ore. Sheedy graduated from Prescott College in Prescott, Ariz.

Production on the film began in the fall of 2003.

"We sought to make a documentary film about United States and Mexico border issues which did not treat the Mexican migrant as part of a faceless problematic horde," the three say.

"Our intention was to focus on a single incident along the border and thereby put a human face on a highly politicized subject. The hope was to avoid stereotypes and generalizations ... If anything, we did not seek to simplify the issues but rather we wanted to reveal their inherent complexities."

Admission is $5 or $1 with a current student ID.

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