Gandhi Brigade to premiere documentary on immigration reform tonight

Graphic courtesy Gandhi Brigade Youth Media

Gandhi Brigade Youth Media will premiere its documentary on immigration reform in a joint presentation tonight with Montgomery College.

“The Fabric of America” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in the Cultural Arts Center, 7995 Georgia Ave., and be followed by a panel discussion with Councilmember Nancy Navarro, Casa de Maryland, UndocuBlack Network and the office of U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-New York’s 13th District).

Eight students from Montgomery Blair, Northwood and Kennedy high schools worked in an intensive five-week program to produce the 7 1/2-minute documentary (see trailer below), according to Evan Glass, Gandhi Brigade’s executive director.

“They selected the topic, researched it and found subjects to interview and interviewed them, and wrote the scripts, created the graphic and produced it, all in five weeks,” Glass said.

“It is the most personal documentary that Gandhi Brigade youth have done to date,” he continued, “because the subject of immigration reform hits so many of them personally.”

The choice of immigration reform for a topic was the result of a two-day brainstorming session during which the students considered ideas such as transgender bathrooms, Islamophobia, the president, mass incarceration and others.

“I think the personal nature of immigration reform was overwhelmingly compelling to them all,” Glass said about the final choice.

The first interview the group did was with a representative of the Federation for American Immigration Reform—not exactly a friendly audience.

“They prepared for it by watching some Michael Moore documentaries and learning the art of interviews and how to be constructive, informative and holding to a particular opinion or viewpoint as well,” Glass said.

It’s a very personal interview, he said, because the FAIR representative believes one of the interviewer’s family members should be deported.

One of the benefits of a project like this, Glass said, besides the experience gained in making a documentary, was the ability for the students to enter “the halls of power, literally and figuratively.”

For example, interviewees included a member of Congress and other individuals that might not otherwise have been available to them.

“Ultimately,” Glass said, “[the students] realize that their voices are important.”

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