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Telling the U.S. immigration story through film

As a nation of immigrants, we have millions of unique stories to tell about how our families came to the United States and shaped this country. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and UNITE HERE, the union of hotel and food service workers, want young people to capture those stories on video. The unions are sponsoring a student film contest called Cortos Y Fuertes (Short and Strong). They want students to tell their stories about immigration; document the pride, hard work and dreams of immigrant families; and show the effect of immigration on their communities.

The AFT, along with the entire labor movement, is squarely behind efforts to shine a light on the stories of our members and the people and families we serve. This project is a wonderful way to engage students on the important role immigration has played in forming who we are as a nation.

The contest's three submission categories are grouped by age:

  • 18 and older (those enrolled in high school, community college or an undergraduate degree program);
  • 13 to 17; and
  • Under 13.

Students can capture their stories using handheld video cameras, smartphones or whatever other equipment and software they have access to. Films can be no longer than three minutes. Once the video is completed, it can be uploaded to YouTube and the filmmaker can complete a submission form at the Cortos Y Fuertes website.

The entry deadline is Aug. 16—so tell your students to get filming!

Judges for the competition are an illustrious group of celebrities from the entertainment, civil rights and labor worlds, including Rosario Dawson, Demián Bichir, Danny Trejo, Hilda Solis, Dolores Huerta, Esai Morales, Van Jones, Antonio Villaraigosa. Prizes are $2,000 for the grand prize winner, $1,000 for first place finishers and $500 for second place. [Short and Strong]

May 10, 2013