This is the trailer for the multimedia documentary web project I produced for my masters thesis. You can see the entire dreams delayed project here.
I wanted to tell the overarching story of access to higher education for undocumented students using three different approaches. The first was to find a teacher who works closely with students (undocumented and not). And through whose eyes you could see the daily trials of undocumented students. Kat is the type of teacher every parent hopes their child has. She cares so deeply for her students, and she feels that this is her battle as much as it is theirs.
The second approach was to find a student who had already made the decision to be vocal about his immigration status. Jose often speaks publicly, and to media outlets, about his struggles as an undocumented student. He is very aware of the risk he takes each time he reveals his identity and his immigration status. He says he does this because he feels like he is running out of options, and if real change is going to happen, the individuals who are being affected need to come “out of the shadows and into the streets.”
My third approach was to try a different visual technique for concealing someone’s identity. After an excellent suggestion from Elena Rue, I decided to shoot Alice and Daniel’s story primarily in tightly composed details. Details are a powerful tool for intimate storytelling, and one that does not require a full shot of a person’s face. This approach pushed my technical as well as emotional boundaries. Because I had to shoot differently, I had to see differently. I would crouch down, look for new angles, and focus on visually compelling details that did not rely on two eyes, a nose and a mouth. It pushed me emotionally by making me get passed the “intruder nerves” very quickly. Not only did these young people have to be willing to let me into their lives, they had to be willing to let me into their personal space. I could not have asked for more open, understanding, and inspiring subjects than Alice and Daniel.