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La Americana, a documentary film. One Continent. Two Countries. A World Apart. Synopsis Short Carmen never planned to come to the United States, but when her daughter Carla was only nine-years-old, tragedy struck. Carmen left Carla behind in Bolivia and made the dangerous and illegal journey to New York City where she could earn enough to support her ailing daughter, knowing she may never return home. But after six years of separation, congress proposes 'amnesty' legislation that could allow Carmen and Carla to be reunited again. Will Carmen stay and fight for the American dream, or be home as promised for Carla's quinceañera? Filmed in three countries and told through an intimate cinema-vérité narrative, her unforgettable story is woven into the current immigration debate in the United States, putting a human face on this timely and controversial issue. Synopsis Long October 2000, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Maria del Carmen Rojas, a young single mother, faces a life-changing catastrophe when her nine-year-old daughter Carla is struck and run over by a bus, leaving Carla in a wheelchair, and Carmen with insurmountable medical expenses. Unable to pay for Carla's hospital bills and specialized care, Carmen borrows money from friends and family to keep her daughter alive. With no opportunities to earn a sufficient living to support her daughter, Carmen tries in vain to get a visa to go to the United States. As her desperation grows, Carmen decides to leave Carla behind and make the dangerous journey to the U.S. After nearly suffocating in the trunk of a sedan crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Carmen makes it to New York where she can send money home and give her daughter the chance to live a life with opportunity, despite her disability. June 2006, New York City, U.S.A. Living and working illegally cleaning houses and stores in the U.S, Carmen earns enough to support Carla from afar. Though Carmen is able to provide for her daughter's medical needs, Carla does not understand why she must grow up without her mother. Carmen cannot visit Carla in Bolivia, as she knows she may not be able to cross back into the United States, on which their lives would depend. Unable to get any working papers, Carmen watches in frustration as congress defeats a bill granting amnesty to long-term undocumented immigrants. But as six years of separation approaches, so does the date at which Carmen promised her daughter they would be together again: Carla's quiceañera. After risking her life to come to the United States, Carmen must once again sacrifice what she has come to know as home, and the security of Carla's future, so that she can keep her word and be at her daughters side. February 2007, Cochabamba, Bolivia. It is only seven months into Carmen's stay, but the joyful reunion of Carla's birthday party already seems like a distant memory. Carmen's money has run out, and her daughter needs an operation that she cannot afford. Though no immigration agreement has been reached in Congress, 6,000 new national guardsmen have been placed on the U.S.-Mexico border. Will Carmen risk her life again in the California desert? Will Carla understand losing her mother again? Will Congress make a way for undocumented immigrants to see their families without losing their American dream? La Americana is Carmen's story, and the story of millions of illegal immigrants forced to leave their families behind in order to provide them a better life. It is the story of a continent divided not by values, but by a physical and political barrier that separates families indefinitely, sometimes forever.

Nicholas Bruckman: Director/Producer Nicholas Bruckman is Director & Producer of La Americana, which has screened at over a dozen international film festivals and recently won the Best Documentary award at the New York Latino Film Festival. He has worked on independent, corporate, and nonprofit documentary projects in South America, Asia, and the Middle East. His work has been supported by grants from the New York State Council of the Arts and the Cinereach Foundation. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Purchase where he was manger of the college cable TV station, PurchaseTV. His thesis film, Kashmir: Voices of Occupation, earned him the statewide chancellor’s award.

IFP Market Big Sky Documentary Festival London International Documentary Festival Palm Beach International Film Festival Cine Las Americas Festival Maryland Film Festival Connecticut Film Festival Staten Island Film Festival HBO / NY International Latino Film Festival Rhode Island International Film Festival Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival National Geographic All Roads Film Festival Mexico City International Documentary Festival National Geographic All Roads Film Festival