As the lights flickered on, expressions of shock and awe were left on a group of about 45 audience member’s faces following the viewing of the web series, “Undocumented Tales” in the Beach Auditorium Wednesday evening.
Associated Students Inc. teamed up with The Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Dream Success Center to bring the “Undocumented Tales” to students followed by a discussion panel about the picture.
Directed and written by Armando Ibañez, the piece is a short web series dedicated to sharing the experiences of an undocumented immigrant.
Before the screening, English graduate student Julie Yeeun Kim shined on stage singing her original song “Dreamer” and moved the audience with her rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Kim is an undocumented student who has been in the United States since she was four. Her original song reflected her heartfelt personal journey.
“Being undocumented is just one thread of a larger picture of who I am,” Kim said. “In spaces like this, I feel like ‘oh, I can [succeed].’”
After her performance, students settled in their seats for the hour and a half viewing of the second season of “Undocumented Tales,” a story about a Mexican server named Fernando, who is not only an undocumented immigrant, but also is secretly gay.
Fernando, portrayed by Ibañez, encounters a multitude of different characters and barriers in his journey, including friends, lovers and enemies.
Third year biology major Estefany de la Cruz was ecstatic to attend the showing of the series.
“I thought it would be a good chance to watch the Undocumented video to learn more about it,” De la Cruz said. “It’s better to reach out and go to these programs that are offered for students.”
The web series is an emotional roller coaster following Fernando through his obstacles: work challenges, trying to get into college, a stressful home environment, shocking love life and involvement in civil rights movements. The film sparked an array of emotions from the audience, making them laugh and cry at various points during the screening.
Directly after the show, there was a Q&A with some of the actors involved in the webseries. Ibañez was joined by his co-stars, Mela Lopez and Mia Belarosa. Lopez currently helps with language and accent coaching in Los Angeles while Belarosa plays a transgender woman, Alejandra, in the web series and in reality is also part of the transexual Latinx community.
The panelists shared many of their experiences and motivations with creating “Undocumented Tales.” Although they worked long hours and most of those who helped with the project didn’t have much experience, they saw great support from their community.
“Nobody got paid, so it’s amazing to create and be a part of something that people took time out of their days,” Belarosa said. “People were there because they believed in the project, they believed in the mission.”
Ibañez wrote the series to welcome people into his world so the public could have a better understanding of the struggles within the undocumented community.
“I wanted to break stereotypes and misconceptions about our community,” Ibanez said. “To show that undocumented people are human beings.”
All episodes of the web series are available on Youtube, located on the Undocumented Tales channel.