“Collisions”: A Film About One Family Torn Apart by ICE, Screening October 2019 In LA
A Film written and directed by Richard Levien
Opens at Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles – October 4
Pre-opening night premiere at Ahrya Fine Arts – October 3 at 7:30pm
Widdershins Film is proud to present the Los Angeles theatrical release of Collisions a film written and directed by Richard Levien. The film has screened at nineteen U.S. film festivals and won thirteen awards, including Audience Award at the Mill Valley Film Festival. It reveals the devastating impact of U.S. immigration policy on one family after the mother is detained by ICE. Collisions will open at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles on October 4 (with a premiere screening taking place Thursday, October 3, 2019, at 7:30 pm at the Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills alongside the director and cast. Other cities will follow, and the film will screen on FUSE TV on October 5, 2019, at 9 pm.
When twelve-year-old Itan (Izabella Alvarez), a jr. high student in San Francisco, comes home from school, she is stunned to find their furniture up-ended, and no trace of her mother, Yoana (Ana de la Reguera), who was detained by ICE. Child Protective Services dumps Itan and her six-year-old brother Neto (Jason Garcia) with their estranged uncle Evencio (Jesse Garcia), a big rig truck driver. Their relationship is strained. He’s not good with kids, and there’s the possibility he’s involved in criminal activity. After a desperate search, Itan locates Yoana in an immigration detention center in Arizona and convinces Evencio to take them there.
They hit the road in in Evencio’s truck, and together face the maddening labyrinth of the immigration system. Itan fights to free her mother before she is deported. But her mother keeps slipping from her grasp, as she’s transferred from prison to prison. Their journey takes them from the desert at the border, to sprawling truck stops, border patrol offices, and secret immigration prisons.
In the close quarters of Evencio’s truck, Itan and Neto seem to bring a better man out of Evencio. But Evencio abandons them just when it seems they have a chance of stopping their mother’s deportation. Are they now truly on their own? Or will Evencio come through and reunite the family?
When I began work on the script, my wife was a third grade teacher, and a child in her class recently had her father taken away and deported. It took weeks of building trust to find out why this girl, previously bright and engaged in class, was suddenly listless and prone to anger or tears at the slightest provocation. I interviewed her as part of my research. Her sadness, but also her bravery, hit me in the gut in a way that no headline or statistic ever could.
Immigration recently became one of the most urgent topics. The policies of U.S. President Trump constantly thrust immigration into the headlines, but there is not so much media attention given to the real families affected by these policies. As Trump has ended the DACA (Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Delayed Action for Parents of Americans) programs, it is now up to Congress to enact legislation to protect the people previously covered by these programs. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of families continue to be forcibly separated every year, both at the border and in our cities and towns. I hope this film can help to foster greater empathy for families who have been wrenched apart in this way.
I am from New Zealand originally. I am now a U.S. citizen, living in San Francisco’s Mission district. As an immigrant myself, I share the story of all immigrants – that of moving away from home in search of a better life, in search of opportunity. So I’m drawn very strongly to stories of immigration.