FilmForums: Great Homes for More Stories

March 24, 2014   |   posted in Festival Events


The Cleveland International Film Festival is committed to using film as a catalyst for thought-provoking conversations and ideas that address the issues faced by our world today. Our FilmForums, moderated panel discussions that offer audience members the opportunity to learn more about issues brought up by our different films, are wonderful ways to have those conversations and build upon the important issues that come up in our films. This year, we are please to present eleven FilmForums, attached to films with topics ranging the future of farming to immigration policies and marriage equality.

Sunday night’s FilmForum, following the film “Transfusión,” asked the question “What is the cost, and what is lost, when enforcing immigration policies?” The film itself is about the proliferation of taco trucks, many of them managed by undocumented immigrants, in American cities, examining both the cultural impact and the backlash that they have produced. The panel examining the topic included the film’s director, Robert Douglas Lemon; Cleveland immigration lawyer Richard Herman, from the Herman Legal group; retired City of Columbus Neighborhood Services Community Relations Representative Bonita Lee; and Columbus New American Initiative Coordinator Guadalupe Velasquez. The panel was moderated by Ideastream’s David C. Barnett.

One topic that came up in particular was the positive effect that encouraging an influx of immigration can actually have on a local economy. The four panelists agreed that, in their experience, the belief that immigrants take jobs away from locals actually is not true at all; instead, those immigrants often provide economic stimulus and can prevent a region from becoming, in Herman’s words, “parochial and insular.” He expressed the belief that an incident several years ago, in which Somali cab drivers were essentially frozen out of Cleveland, had contributed to the city’s economic woes, and suggested that following Columbus’s examples of expanded inclusivity would be much more rewarding.

Lara Klaber
Photo by Laura Watilo Blake

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Related Screenings:
03/23/14 @ 4:45 PM – Transfusión

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