The Immigration Paradox: Documentary from Local Filmmaker Fosters Dialogue
"We want to get it out to as many folks as we can before the elections take place," says Bryan Vasquez of The Immigration Paradox, a new full-length documentary by Lourdes Lee Vasquez. Speaking of paradoxes, that explains why a film you've probably never heard of is having its world première tonight at downtown's Orpheum Theatre, with a red carpet, an opening reception, and plenty of comfy seats. (View a trailer here -- the movie's literally being finished as I type this, so we couldn't preview it for you.)
© 2012 Deep Focus Cinema A young demonstrator at a "99%" protest near Phoenix City Hall, in a scene from The Immigration Paradox
Bryan Vasquez, in addition to serving as a press contact, is a co-producer of the film and did most of the principal photography. Though future showings are not nailed down at this time, he hopes to "provide avenues for further distribution -- venue showings in and around Arizona, California, Texas." It's also possible the doc will be available from iTunes and/or Amazon.
Director Lee Vasquez was born in Mexico City and raised in the Phoenix area. She attended film school in California, returned to Arizona and engaged in several varieties of human rights activism, and worked for a time in Mumbai, where she was able, her bio states, to reflect and gain perspective on what steps she could take back at home.
"We saw our community hurting, and we were curious why that was. We tend to look at things that are only symptoms and not the root cause," Bryan Vasquez tells New Times. Over a period of seven years, Lee Vasquez looked for answers to the divisive issue of immigration, for an understanding of why Mexicans continue to risk their lives to cross the Arizona desert and live in the U.S. She spoke with many people whose viewpoints cover the map, from academics, government officials, Americans who live near the border, migrants, and other activists and taxpayers to Local First Arizona's Kimber Lanning.
"There's going to have to be some sort of compromise," Vasquez continues. "What we want to see come out of it is less hate rhetoric." Lee Vasquez herself, according to the film's press release, unexpectedly met with someone she considered an "enemy" who helped broaden her own perspective on the issue.
Like last fall's Mitchell 20, The Immigration Paradox has a fresh, locally generated musical soundtrack -- the bands include There Is Danger, Dry River Yacht Club, Michelle Blades, Underground Cities, and The Whisperlights.
Sponsors have made it possible for the general public to get into tonight's event at half-price. By using the discount code provided, given the reserved seating plan the Orpheum uses, that means a ticket could be yours for around $5 to $8 before fees -- less than many big studio pictures.
You can simply call the Phoenix Convention Center box office, which handles Orpheum ticketing, at 602-262-7272. Online sales are available from Ticketmaster.
We spoke this morning with someone who says she bought tickets to tonight's event over the phone from what she had every reason to believe was Ticketmaster and was told today by Ticketmaster, when she called to question outrageous overpricing that may have been based on charges for unnecessary and unrequested shipping, that she's been a victim of identity theft. The details are still being sorted out -- it doesn't appear to be connected to the film or the event at all at this point -- but if you have a burning urge to talk to Ticketmaster on the phone rather than using some other option, we'd like to help protect you: Their real phone number is 800-745-3000. (And there's a chance at least one of the people who used to answer that is out on his butt this morning.)
Doors open for tonight's première at 6:30 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. The film begins at 7:30 p.m., and there will be an intermission.