Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Social activist with a camera

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By admin December 18, 2012 17:17

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Social activist with a camera

By Ruben Hernandez

Phoenix filmmaker Lourdes Lee Vasquez premiered her documentary, The Immigration Paradox, just before the re-election of President Barack Obama. Now this powerful film will be distributed at the same time Obama will fulfill his pledge to reform our nation’s immigration system.

Coincidence? Not if you believe your purpose is to be part of our nation’s transformation through immigration, as Lee Vasquez does.   

Lourdes explains her film, The Immigration Paradox, is the story not just about her personal journey to find the truth underlying immigration issues, but also how that truth can bring us together to talk about solutions.

“We felt we needed to show how the social issue of immigration is all interconnected and how we all have crucial roles to play,” she says.

Her documentary reveals the anger of people on both sides of the divisive immigration issue in Arizona – often called “ground zero” for the immigration debate.

Over seven years, Lee Vasquez interviewed people with different viewpoints, including government officials, academics, border militia, pro-immigration activists, and undocumented immigrants. The official film trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

What emerges is a comprehensive, in-depth, and historical look at immigration in America and in Mexico, where many immigrants originate.  See more details on the film Website here. 

She calls herself a “conscientious filmmaker who uses her talents to capture a diversity of perspectives, analyze social norms, and show the interconnection of our humanity to create positive social change.”

In late September, the documentary was premiered in Hollywood fashion with red carpet and Klieg lights at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix.

In addition, there will be another screening of a newly edited cut on Saturday, Dec. 29, 5-7 p.m., at the Parazol Studios, 630 E. Pierce St. in Phoenix.  

Lee Vasquez says the comments she has received about the film rewarded her for all the hard work.  

“People said they are actually changing their lifestyles because of the film,” she explains. “How they live their lives, the media channels they get their information from, even where they are shopping.”

Lourdes’ own life took a path leading directly to The Immigration Paradox and other related projects.

She was born in Mexico City and raised in the Valley. She learned filmmaking at the University of California Santa Cruz before returning to Arizona.

She worked with nonprofits, political campaigns, and hosted a TV show here to create awareness and civic engagement, but still wasn’t satisfied she was doing enough.

However, while working with a production company in Mumbai, India that she began reflecting deeply on her life and purpose. This contemplation led her to realize that positive communication and information was the keys to evolving human consciousness.

These new ideas gave her a bigger picture perspective and concepts she would use in her first documentary, in her nonprofit Embracing Humanity, and her Deep Focus Cinema production company in Phoenix.

She says all segments of U.S. society must come to a constructive consensus before true immigration reform can take place – in our government, and in the hearts of all citizens. That’s why she created the nonprofit Embracing Humanity. Website: www. Embracing-Humanity.org. 

“The inspiration came to create a nonprofit for more constructive dialogue,” she says. “We are planning a conference, and meetings once a month.”

Lourdes says trained facilitators will conduct workshops and coordinate conflict management seminars. They also plan to have mini-seminars in different people’s homes, which they will call “dinner and dialogue.”

“We think people will find it more comfortable and cozy to have these encounters in their own spaces,” she adds.

Lourdes’ husband, Bryan Vasquez, was a co-producer and PR coordinator for the film. He says while future showings haven’t been scheduled yet, the production team is hoping to screen the film again in Phoenix, around Arizona, and in California and Texas. The documentary DVD may be available from Amazon or iTunes soon.

Lee Vasquez says that her personal spirituality helps her “open up her imagination and create the world she would like to see, a world that embraces humanity to elevate us to new dimensions.” 

For the latest updates on The Immigration Paradox, visit the Facebook page here. 

admin
By admin December 18, 2012 17:17
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