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Documented: A Film by an Undocumented American

Three years ago, an award winning journalist changed his life forever by bravely outing himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times. Now his story is global, allies are rallying, and the documentary is on tour.

After reading the incredibly emotional article in the New York Times, ‘My Life As An Undocumented Citizen‘ by Jose Antonia Vargas, you can only imagine how excited I am about attending the opening this evening in San Francisco’s Roxie Theatre.

This man who is passionate, intelligent, and driven, comes out to the world with his undocumented status, telling a story that brings forth such empathy from my soul that I can’t help but tear up a little as I’m flung into his journey through his words. Vargas has also marked his directional debut with his story, a feature length documentary, titled: Documented: A film by an Undocumented American.

“In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine. ‘Documented’ chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his journey through America as an immigration reform activist/provocateur; and his journey inward as he reconnects with his mother, whom he hasn’t seen in 20 years.”

In reality, people everywhere appear almost ordinary, and no one could ever know the inner turmoil, the struggles they face day to day, their story. That is, until they tell it, and in most cases, these stories are really worth listening to.

Watch the trailer for Documented: A film by an Undocumented American below, and if you can, do catch one of the screenings!


Filmmakers on IndieReign, like Vargas, tell stories about immigration, personal struggle, race relations, and inner turmoil. The documentaries below are moving and emotional, evocative and powerful just as independent films should be, and have been uploaded to IndieReign by artists just like Vargas, who want to tell their story.

1) Facing Sudan.

A custodian. A housewife. A paediatrician. A grandmother. Seemingly ordinary individuals, yet they have an amazing story to tell. It is the story of suffering and death. It is the story of refugees. It is the story of terrified villagers running for cover. Yet, at the same time, it is a story of strength, courage and hope. It is the story of Sudan. Over the last 20 years, millions have died in Sudan. A civil war devastated the South and currently a genocide is occurring in the western region of Darfur. Facing Sudan is the story of ordinary individuals, moved into action by the events in Sudan, and it shows that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, even in Sudan.

Watch the trailer right through for this one, this is already a difficult subject, but the imagery that goes with this film makes it so hard to ignore.


2) Burn: The Evolution of an American City

Burn is a 2 times Best Documentary Award Winner, made by a pair of Independent Filmmakers, who on a whim set out to learn more about the little known, worst recorded Race Riot in American History, the 1921 Tulsa Oklahoma Race Riot. Initially, the riot was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms, or even talked about, until a report on the event was commissioned in 2001.

During the riot, the most wealthiest black community of the United States was burned to the ground (including the hospital) by attackers, and an estimated 10,000 people were left homeless. How did this go on unmentioned in the next generation? Why does no one talk about it? And what now lies in Tulsa? These filmmakers journey to the town to uncover the true story, guided by religious Leaders, an Attorney, a City Councilman, a Community Activist, and an Educator…


3) Old Coach

Coach Mac has coached high school football at Green Mountain high school for over two decades, and after years of hard work had finally made it to the head coaching position – but such a huge dedication to his team has cost him his marriage of over 25 years.

This is a film of one dedicated man, who takes his team in the 1998 season to towards a state championship, but at heart-breaking costs. If it was you in this situation, what would you do, and what team would you fight for?


4) My Brother Lives in China

Need something that’s going to give you a little pick me up? Here’s what living life as an immigrant on the other side looks, where filmmaker Matthiew Klinck gives us the inside scoop of the personal life of a Canadian living in China.

“My brother David and his Chinese girlfriend have an English school in Guangzhou Canton. They work long days managing teachers and finding students. Every Sunday night, David goes to a studio to record music with a group of Chinese and western friends. Soon a night club owner invests in the music project and the friends are forced to face creative differences…” Oohh, creative differences.

This is a little different than the struggles of undocumented immigrants, but the subject is approached in a light-hearted and humorous manner. This is immigration done the normal way:


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