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Films to Celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month

Happy Immigrant Heritage Month! #ImmigrantHeritageMonth #IHM2015

Started by, June 2015 marks the second-annual Immigrant Heritage Month—an initiative to partner community organizations, elected officials, corporations, artists, and leaders to gather and share inspirational stories of American immigrants. 

The goal of the month is to encourage every American to tell the story of how they first felt welcomed to the American experience.

For this post I have decided to highlight some recent films that portray the American Immigrant Experience. From documentaries to wonderful works of fiction, they all provide some insight in what builds our diverse nation.


A Better Life
Carlos Galindo always dreamed of a better life for his wife and newborn son when he crossed the border into the U.S. A story that follows father and son as they embark on a physical and spiritual journey where they discover that family is the most important part of the American dream.

Amira & Sam
An army veteran's unlikely romance with an Iraqi immigrant is put to the test when she is faced with the prospect of deportation.

Children of Invention
Two young children living illegally in a model apartment outside Boston are left to fend for themselves when their hardworking mother disappears.

Foreign Letters
An 11-year-old immigrant girl from Israel misses her best friend. A Vietnamese refugee girl next door shares in her experience.

The coming-of-age story of Daanyik, a nine-year-old Russian boy whose family immigrates to the United States in the late 1970s to pursue the American Dream.

The Immigrant
Ewa and her sister sail to New York from their native Poland in search of a new start and the American dream. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated.

Immigration Tango
An American couple and a foreign couple test the limits of friendship and love when they switch partners and get married for green cards in this fun and flirty romantic comedy that earned Best Picture at the Boston International Film Festival. 

On the Run Again
The adventures and challenges of an African immigrant facing the conflicts of survival in a society different from the one he was born and raised.


Faces of America
Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. turns again to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned celebrities including Meryl Streep and Queen Noor. Looking to the wider immigrant experience, Professor Gates follows the threads of his guests' lives back to their origins. Along the way, the many stories he uncovers illuminate the American experience.

The Harvest / La Cosecha
"Every year there are more than 400,000 American children who are torn away from their friends, schools, and homes to pick the food we all eat. Zulema, Perla, and Victor labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive. Follow these three as they journey from the scorching heat of Texas's onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards and back south to the humidity of Florida's tomato fields to follow the harvest."

Hunky Blues, The American Dream
The Hungarian immigrant experience is revealed and revered in a special documentary by internationally acclaimed director Peter Forgacs. Forgacs weaves photographs, home-movie footage, and interviews into an epic saga of escape, emigration, integration, and assimilation as he chronicles the wave of Hungarian immigrants who arrived in America between 1890 and 1921

No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo + Vilmos
Examines the lives and works of Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, chronicling their escape from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, their immigration to America, and their rise up the ladder of Hollywood to become renowned cinematographers.

The Other Side of Immigration
This documentary is based on over 700 interviews with men and women in the Mexican countryside. The film explores why so many people leave small Mexican towns to work in the United States and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind.

Other People's Children
There are thousands of women in New York City taking care of other people's children. Every day they arrive at households prepared to pick up where moms leave off. They're on the playground, at the park, in preschool lobbies with arms outstretched. They work long hours with no benefits to keep kids safe and parents happy. An look at the lives of three immigrant women working as nannies in New York City.

Please feel free to add in the comments any films, older or new, that you have enjoyed and represent our immigrant journeys.

Looking for an something to read? Don’t miss our blog posts:
Celebrating World Book Day with Stories of the Immigrant Experience
We Are New Yorkers: A Reading List for NYC Immigrant Heritage Week

Check out some of our programs celebrating our cultural diversity. And take a look at some of our classes and workshops to help new immigrants achieve their American dream.

#ImmigrantHeritageMonth #IHM2015


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In America

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