RE: Looking For Participants For A Documentary On Female Immigrants

Friday, December 04, 2009

I got this sent in from Alexandra Hidalgo who's a Ph.D student down at Purdue and definitely wanted to put this out there so if you, or anyone you know might be interested, you can get into contact with her and help her out with the project.

My name is Alexandra Hidalgo and I am a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition at Purdue University. For my dissertation project, I am making a documentary about female immigrants in New York City. Having been born in Caracas, Venezuela I moved to the United States at 16, and so have a personal connection with the immigrant story. In view of the heated and often xenophobic immigration debate that has pervaded the media in the last few years, I think we need to create work that humanizes our immigrant population and tells stories that contrast the negative portrayals we often encounter in the media.

I am looking for five women who were born abroad but now live in New York. I would like to capture a wide spectrum of races, nationalities, social classes and ages in the film. I also hope to portray women with different family arrangements—with and without children and grandchildren, as well as different sexual orientations. For the documentary, I will spend four days with each participant, filming their daily family, work and leisure activities as well as interviewing them about what it means to be a woman and the duality of belonging to two cultures. For the culmination of the narrative, the five women will meet each other for the first time at a yet-to-be-determined location in or near the city. They will each bring two objects, one from each of their cultures/lives, and through those objects they will tell two stories that represent who they are as women and immigrants.

Having no outside funding for this project, I am unable to financially compensate participants. However, I will provide them with copies of the final project and keep them updated about the film’s journey through festivals and screenings. This is also an opportunity for women to gain a voice and change the cultural perception of immigrants by telling their story. I’m hoping to find participants with compelling stories who feel comfortable enough with the camera to share them.

The shooting time is still somewhat flexible. I would like to shoot at some point between the end of May and the month of June. The one event everyone will need to be present for at the same time is the final, storytelling gathering. That event will be scheduled based on the five participants’ availability but will most likely take place on a weekend.

I will be in New York from Friday, January 1 to Wednesday, January 6 in order to meet with possible participants. Please forward this to women who may want to participate. If you have any questions or want to set up an appointment to meet with me, please email me at For more information about my work, you can go to my website By visiting, you can learn about my first documentary, Perfect: A Conversation with the Venezuelan Middle Class about Female Beauty and Breast Implants. This spring I will be documenting a young filmmaker at Purdue University as she makes her first film.

Thank you so much