Illegal immigration issues appear in documentary and journalistic programming frequently. However, most of this coverage seems to take propagandistic sides in this contentious debate. The ones that manage to avoid opinion-based bias, often focus on the most "spectacular" aspects of the issue, such as drug smuggling and treacherous border crossings, to lure audiences with danger and adventure. The personal, real-life stories are often lost betwen these "talking head" commentators and dramatizations, and the sum of these programs has created an unrealistic and divisive picture of the problems facing America in addressing illegal immigration today. I wanted this documentary to be different, in order to introduce some balance and humanity into this ongoing debate. As we hear politicians and pundits arguing over statistics, we need to remember that the people most affected are not just numbers. They are individual human beings caught up in economic, social and political forces beyond their control.
"120 days" is an observational, character-based documentary. We tell a very personal family story, but the Cortes family's situation also presents a unique lens through which to examine the larger issues of illegal immigration. It is crucial that the public sees immigration from as many sides as possible, and "120 days" offers one unique, compelling perspective from which to view this controversy; through the eyes of a man could soon lose his family, due to both his own decisions, and the U.S. government's current immigration policies.
My goal in making "120 days" was to let viewers feel what it's like to be Miguel and his family as they face these difficult decisions. In understanding their perspective, a lot can be learned about not only their plight, but also the same decisions that face millions of immigrants in America everyday. With this goal in mind, we present our film "120 days," for your consideration.