Al Otro Lado: To the Other Side Movie Presentation at Tumbleweed :: Phoenix, AZ

On July 18, 2012, the Indocumentales-Tumbleweed film series showed Al Otro Lado, by Natalia Almada. Casa de Sueños Program Coordinator Jacquelin Hawley and myself facilitated the discussion after. The POV discussion guide published on the PBS website provided a helpful push to get the conversation going. Once it did, strong opinions were expressed about the themes of corridos, immigration, and drug trafficking.

On a musical note, big name performers featured in the film, like Chalino Sanchez and Los Tigres del Norte, seemed to add a familiar historical component to those who grew up listening to corridos. For others, learning about how corridos are written to share news, comment on politics, and often glorify drug smuggling was compelling. The audience’s varied backgrounds contributed to a colorful discussion when talking about the evolution of corridos, too, sharing their take on what the genre has developed into today, 6 years after this movie was made.

Viewers had varying opinions about the immigration issue since many staff has Latin America backgrounds and some frequently visit or even live in Mexico, traveling back and forth to work on this side of the border. We touched upon the immigration reform campaign that is currently taking place in the U.S., discussing how that will affect Dreamers, Casa de Sueños kids, and other youth in the Tumbleweed network who will be seeking educational/vocational assistance or job development training.

Overall, the audience really identified with the endearing way Magdiel was portrayed in the film with all of his talents, questions, and dreams. Conversely, they expressed that they felt angered by Chris Simcox’s role as the President of The Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. I wonder what corridor Magdiel would compose of him?

Posted by Lindy Drew, Team Coordinator, Casa de Sueños, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development

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