Presidio filmmaker, once an illegal immigrant, documenting border issues
By MICHELLE SALGADO MUÑOZ
PRESIDIO – Filmmaker Alberto Garcia moved to Presidio three years ago where he currently works on two projects to be filmed in the area, including a documentary whose genesis comes from childhood experiences.
Garcia, who moved with his family illegally to Hobbs, New Mexico from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico when he was 5 years old, is now telling the story of more recent illegal immigrants to the United States.
“We lived in the shadows,” Garcia states, and his documentary “An American Dream: the battle for Arizona,” concentrates on the borderland and people who are caught in the middle of the immigration ordeal, a topic that hits close to home for Garcia.
It was not until the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 that he and his family were able to gain U.S. citizenship. After graduating high school in Hobbs, he pursued his Associate degree of applied science in video production at the Art Institute of Dallas, which he earned in 2001. He has worked in television for 10 years at Telemundo, NBC, KTEN and The Jewelry Channel.
He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in digital cinematography at Full Sail University. Television was never his dream, only a bi-weekly check. After those ten years in television, he became re-inspired to pursue his dream of becoming a narrative filmmaker and decided to continue working on his film projects.
“An American Dream: the battle for Arizona” is a two-part documentary.
“It’s a human story on immigration, not political,” states Garcia. “ It will show an intimate portrait of the people who are caught in the middle of that debate.”
Part one, “Un Sueño Americano” (An American Dream) which was completed three years ago, is a 33-minute short film that aired on the Documentary Channel for two years.
The recent frenzy over Arizona’s SB 1070 law, a law that gives local police permission to ask the immigration status of person they stop if they have reasonable doubt that they may not be a legal resident, and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling upholding major portions of that law, gave Garcia the initiative and inspiration to continue working on the documentary and turn it into a feature length film to reach a larger audience.
Over these past three years, Garcia has traveled to California, Juarez and Ojinaga, interviewing locals, immigrants and Border Patrol agents for his project.
A second project is a suspense thriller short film named “Insomniac.” It follows the character Michael Bishop, a man who is going insane because of his lack of sleep, but his insomnia has a deeper root in his conscience. The film contains similar themes as movies such as “The Machinist” with Christian Bale and “Insomnia” with Al Pacino. The movie will be filmed in both Presidio and in the Dallas/Fort Worth areas.
Garcia hopes to fund his projects by the online Kickstarter website, a funding platform that helps raise money for a diverse collection of creative projects, including film, art, fashion and has been the starting point for well known writers, actors and filmmakers, such as Bret Easton Ellis, Ricki Lake and Colin Hanks. Friends, fans and the public can go to the website www.kickstarter.com to donate and help Garcia with the completion of his projects. His campaign can be found by typing “An American Dream: the battle for Arizona” or “Insomniac” in the search engine.