Graduate students at the LBJ school shot and edited their own mini-documentaries as part of class led by Dr. Paul Stekler, a UT professor and award-winning filmmaker. These 10-minute films focused on a variety of issues including American assumptions about Muslim women; the Dream Act and the individuals it would affect; and how one immigrant's entrepreneurial success has revolutionized small Indian village and an entire American industry. By artfully weaving personal experiences with larger political and social problems, these films are a refreshing set of reflections on the current realities of life in America.
This powerful film follows the Ramirez family, a typical Latino family living in Austin, Texas. Both parents are undocumented, yet they pay income and property taxes, and provide for their family. The home they own is located in a middle-class, south Austin neighborhood, only a short distance from the public schools their two daughters attend. Living in the US for over 15 years, Esther and David Ramirez are dedicated parents who wish only the best for their children and for their adopted country. However, they are forced to live in the shadows in a state where anti-immigrant legislation is always up for debate.
This is the story of Houston hotelier Nitin Bhakta, an immigrant from a small Indian village, has helped foster a dramatic increase in Indian hotel ownership over the past 30 years. Currently, over 40 percent of hotel owners in America are from the Indian state of Gujarat, which just happens to be where Nitin is from.
This film follows several intelligent, ambitious young people who are unable to pursue their desired careers due to their lack of American citizenship. While many of these individuals have all the tools to be highly productive members of society, they are relegated to a life of low-wage labor and unrealized potential. Former Texas Representative Rick Noriega explains the consequences this has on the American economy.
This documentary highlights American Muslim women living lives that contradict the widely held assumptions about them. Throughout the film, these women share their lives and the ways they cope with and combat the misconceptions they confront daily about their religion.