Filmmakers Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar were just in Washington, D.C. for a screening of Made in L.A. on Capitol Hill. This event included comments and conversation with Congresswoman Diane Watson, ?Congressman Luis Gutierrez, chair of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus’ Immigration Taskforce, Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice, Bill Mefford, director of Civil and Human Rights for the United Methodist Church and a leader of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, and Angela Kelley, director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Law Foundation, with brief opening remarks presented by Ted A. Garcia, senior vice president, Television Content, Corporation For Public Broadcasting, and Sally Jo Fifer, president and CEO of ITVS. Simon Kilmurry, executive director of POV, was also in attendance. Read the filmmakers’ report below, and some of the comments from participants.

Almudena Carracedo
For the last year and a half, since our broadcast premiere on POV the day after Labor Day 2007, we have been traveling with <strongMade in L.A. in order to put a human face on the many issues that intersect in the film: immigration and immigrant workers, labor rights, “sweat-free” organizing and women’s empowerment. In recent months, as immigration reform has returned to the national dialogue, we have put special emphasis on providing Made in L.A. as a tool to humanize immigrants’ stories.

We have recently launched a May Day Community Screening Campaign with national organizations in a nationwide effort to put a human face on the issues of immigration, immigrant workers’ rights, and supporting humane immigration reform. This Capitol Hill screening was part of this effort — in the midst of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus’s Historic Family Unity listening tour, congressional and community leaders came together to discuss the film and the current state of the immigration debate.

Congresswoman Diane Watson opened the event, which was sponsored by the Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus, which she chairs: “As we watch Made in L.A., I’d like you to take in the journey that these courageous women made staring directly into the face of adversity and remember one word: perseverance… You’ll see that Lupe and Maura and Maria could have been any of us if born under different circumstances. It is my hope that we as lawmakers and concerned citizens will take the information from today’s film and discussion and apply it to our continuing fight for fair wages, for decent working conditions, and a safe place to work without the threats of abuse regardless of one’s immigration status.”

Made in L.A. screening

Frank Sharry, America’s Voice, Congressman Luis Gutierrez filmmaker Almudena Carracedo, Congreswoman Diane Watson, filmmaker Robert Bahar and Bill Mefford, Interfaith Immigration Coalition at the screening of Made in L.A. on Capitol Hill.

Congressmember Luis Gutierrez, chair of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus Immigration Taskforce spoke about the Historic Family Unity listening tour and how these experiences have shaped his views on the need for immigration reform. He commented how he cried when he saw Made in L.A. and later added: “Made in L.A. is a breathtaking and deeply touching depiction of the human cost of our immigration crisis. I’m thrilled my colleagues and I had the opportunity to screen this movie on Capitol Hill. I urge anyone who is uncertain about the need for humane reform to see this movie.”

Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice, framed the film with passion and humanity: “Made in L.A. is a beautiful film… that will challenge all of us to continue to stretch so that America becomes what it might yet be rather than what it’s recently become. And when we do, I think the ‘stars’ of the movie will make all of us feel proud that we were made in America.”

Senior Vice President of Television Content at the Corporation For Public Broadcasting Ted Garcia highlighted the story and mission of Made in L.A. and acknowledged the many partners that came together to make the film possible: “Made in L.A. highlights some of the reasons why public service media is so crucial… I’m so pleased that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through our support of ITVS, POV and Latino Public Broadcasting has played a role in ensuring that this story would be told.” We were also touched by Sally Fifer‘s comment that “Made in L.A. represents exactly that kind of deep, authentic filmmaking that breaks new ground and brings us new understanding.”

We are happy and honored that Made in L.A. was able to contribute, even in a small way, to this national dialogue, and that both the event and the publicity around it helped get the film into the hands of lawmakers, and policy professionals.

Made in L.A. will have an Encore Broadcast on August 11th as part of POV 2009 season.

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Catherine Jhee was formerly a producer with POV Interactive.