“Out of the Shadows” Documentary Follows “Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic” Immigrants

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Bryn Mawr Film Institute hosts May 5 screening of student-produced documentary

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Fernanda Marroquin wants what any United States citizen wants—a piece of the American Dream. The 22-year-old Philadelphia woman longs for the opportunity to get a good education, work hard, support her family and contribute to society. Yet, she is one of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants trapped—but through no action of her own.

Today, as a member of the growing DreamActivist youth movement, she is "undocumented, unafraid, unapologetic." DreamActivist takes its name from the proposed DREAM Act legislation (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), which would repeal a federal statute that penalizes states for allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition.

“Out of the Shadows,” a 20-minute documentary, was written and produced by 10 students in Villanova University’s Center for Social Justice Film. The documentary chronicles Marroquin’s struggle for legitimacy and a path to citizenship while shining a spotlight on the fear and intimidation that undocumented immigrants, at risk of arrest and deportation, face daily.

The documentary will be screened on Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m., at The Bryn Mawr Film Institute. The event is free and open to the public.

Brought to America from Peru by her parents at age 11, Marroquin grew up in the United States. She graduated high school and now attends college at Eastern University in nearby Saint David’s, Pa. But, unless granted citizenship through passage of the DREAM Act, Marroquin and others like her, cannot obtain a driver’s license, receive financial aid to attend college, serve in the military, or work legally.

“The idea behind ‘Out of the Shadows’ grew out of seeing how passionate and dynamic Fernanda is about immigration issues. Her emotion, her passion is so palpable—we wanted to give a voice to her call for awareness,” said Hezekiah Lewis, a communication professor at Villanova, award-winning filmmaker, and mentor for the project.

Lewis says he wants the audience to feel that they have the desire and power to discuss immigration issues—to bring them out of the shadows and agree on solutions.

“I think all of us have come out of this process with a new perspective on the power of film to change hearts and minds,”

‘Out of the Shadows’ student director Juliana Brown said. “We hope that this documentary will spark a productive dialogue about the issues surrounding immigration in the United States.”

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.