Documented to Premiere in Boston for Immigrant Heritage Month

The documentary about undocumented immigrants in America follows the personal story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas.

In 2011, Jose Antonio Vargas sparked a national conversation with an essay in the New York Times Magazine titled “My Life As an Undocumented Immigrant,” in which the writer described his experience growing up as an undocumented immigrant in the United States. The story shed light on numerous immigration issues in the U.S., from the challenges of gaining employment, to the Dream Act, to everyday fear and guilt.

Following the piece, Vargas—a former reporter for the Washington Post who shares a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings—appeared on the cover of Time magazine with other undocumented immigrants as part of a followup story. And since then, he has packaged his story in the form of a documentary, called Documented, which will premiere in Boston on Tuesday at the Boston Public Library, followed by a panel discussion with Vargas and others.


Related: “The Thing Is, I’m Undocumented”


Vargas, who wrote, directed, and produced the project, initially set out to make a film about “DREAMers,” but what resulted was a much more personal story—tales from his childhood, meeting his mother after 20 years apart, and going on the road as an activist. In one scene, he attends a Mitt Romney presidential campaign event in Iowa. Romney is shown saying, “People who have come here illegally should not be citizens of the United States.” Vargas stands by with a sign: “I am an American w/o papers.”

The thesis of Documented comes through right in the tagline: “a film by an illegal immigrant undocumented American.”

The free film screening at the BPL is one of two events hosted for “Immigrant Heritage Month” in Boston, which Mayor Marty Walsh proclaimed last week. The first was a short celebration on Saturday at the BPL. In the press release announcing Immigrant Heritage Month, Walsh said:

Generations of immigrants from every corner of the world, including my own parents, have made Boston their home. And it is this diversity that make us a unique city. … We are a welcoming city, and I want all our immigrants to know that they don’t have to leave their cultures behind to become American in Boston.

 

A free screening of Documented will take place Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Boston Public Library, and will be followed by a panel discussion with Vargas and others. The film premieres nationally on CNN on Sunday, June 29, at 9 p.m. Learn more at documentedthefilm.com.

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