Shelter, Human Stories of Central America is a documentary that gives us a calm look at the lives of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. First-hand stories of Central American migrants and asylum seekers are shown. They look for a better life in the north.
Shelter was made with a small group of 5 filmmakers. The project had no budget and relied heavily on local participation by artists and donated equipment, organized with the assistance of UNICEF's Next Gen program. .
- The inevitable migration that Shelter shows
- Shelter, an admirably humanistic project
The inevitable migration that Shelter shows
Unfortunately, there are many situations of forced migration in the world. This is due to the enormous difficulties that many people encounter in their country of origin. Great economic difficulties, but above all, difficulties arising from the lack of respect for human rights. 500,000 people, including boys and girls, cross the border between Mexico and Guatemala every year. After weeks of waiting, only 2% get the papers. The rest, 490,000, are deported again. Many of them, desperate and with nothing to lose, try again..
Soft and dreamy, yet present and unwavering, Shelter, Matthew K. Firpo's most recent short documentary, is a sensitive portrait of Central American immigrants on Mexico's southern border. Although the format is conventional, the film is transgressive simply by allowing marginalized people to speak for themselves. The film tries to avoid homogenizing and dehumanizing. It seeks to restore the specificity and humanity of its subjects through personal testimony. Overflowing stories unfold and are showcased at Shelter through beautiful photography and gracious interview. They reveal a common humanity between the viewer and the subject. At the same time they attest to a universal desire for simple things: family, security, opportunity.
Shelter, an admirably humanistic project
Several people are shown from behind or have hidden identification elements for their protection. This decision has its downsides. Denying the power of the human face is a barrier to empathy. However, as is often the case, movies' weaknesses are tied to their strengths. There is immense power in the procession of heartbreaking stories and the emotion it manifests.
In Shelter, Firpo, as in his documentary Refuge (where he showed individuals caught up in Europe's migration crisis), manifests a fundamentally compassionate perspective. It is an admirably humanistic project that, according to Firpo, represents his artistic inspiration: “I am interested in understanding the things that make us all different, and more often, the things that make us all the same. We all want to be safe, to see our children grow up in peace, to live with dignity, and this movie, I hope, is a simple reminder to audiences that compassion is a choice. Something you must do every day. It is not complicated, it is simply difficult. I hope this film can help humanize the separated families we read so much about, and begin to heal the divisions on both sides of the border..
Sources: Matthew K. Firpo and Short of the week