A team of UConn students across various majors has completed a documentary film entitled “Locked Out: American Dream in Jeopardy.” The documentary tells the story of the undocumented immigrant community in Connecticut and the activists who are helping them adjust to life and navigate the legal system to find a path to citizenship.
“It was a real joy to work with these students on this project and it was a real learning experience for them,” says Steven Smith, a professor of visual journalism who guided the students along with Scott Wallace, another professor in the Department of Journalism. “They had to trust us because this was a tough story to work on. When you are working on a documentary, it is different because the script is being written as you are doing the interviews. That takes a lot of trust the first time you go through that process. Scott and I both wanted to inspire them about long-term projects and the difference that these stories can make.”
The film features interviews with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, New Haven-based immigration attorney Glenn Formica, and Sister Mary Jude Lazarus, a Roman Catholic nun who serves the Hispanic community in Willimantic. Adding to the power of film are the words of an undocumented immigrant identified as “Margarita” out of her concern not to be known and Eric Cruz-Lopez, a DACA community organizer in New Haven.