December 8, 2006
Please join us for a special evening at the Aurora Theatre for Farmingville, a very timely and poignant documentary film about immigration, by filmmaker Carlos Sandoval, who will be in attendance.
Synopsis: In some ways, it's a familiar American story: an influx of illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico to do work the locals won't; a flourishing "low-wage" labor market that depends on them; rising tensions with the resident Anglo population; charges and counter-charges of lawlessness and racism; organizing and counter-organizing - then a violent hate crime that tears a community apart. But this isn't the story of a California, Texas or other Southwestern town. It's the story of Farmingville, New York, on Long Island.
In the late 1990s, some 1,500 Mexican workers moved to the leafy, suburban town of Farmingville, population 15,000. Many were illegal immigrants, and most found ready employment in Suffolk County's thriving landscaping, construction, and restaurant industries. This didn't prevent many of the town's citizens from being shocked at the sudden influx of employment-hungry Spanish-speaking men crowding their street corners and over-crowding rented houses in their neighborhoods. Farmingville, after all, is about as far from a border town, or traditional employer of immigrant labor, as you can get.
"Farmingville" meticulously reveals the underlying forces, and the human impact, of what has become the largest influx of Mexican workers in U.S. history - a migration that economic globalization is carrying beyond border areas and major cities and into the small cities and towns of America. The filmmakers spent nearly a year in Farmingville, talking to all sides and filming the conflict as it unfolded in legal and political maneuverings, community organizing, vigilante action and, most tragically, violence. "Farmingville" achieves a remarkable intimacy with many of the principal players in the town's drama, who share their personal hopes and fears, revealing just how profoundly local all politics, even global politics, are.
About the Director: Carlos Sandoval is a lawyer and a writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times. His play, "The Wolfman and His Wife," is slated for production by the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. Sandoval has worked on immigration and refugee affairs as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, and as a program officer for the Twentieth Century Fund (now The Century Foundation). Of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, Sandoval grew up in Southern California and is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Chicago School of Law.
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