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tThe Forgotten Americans

Filmmaker's Journal


Focus: Las Colonias
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September 1, 1998

Dr. Jaime Chahin and President Jerome Supple of Southwest Texas State University greet Craig Vittitoe of the Board of Regents to tell him about the Las Colonias project. I begin work on a new project to tell the story of the colonias.

The neighborhoods along our border with Mexico were built by unscrupulous developers who took advantage of some of our nation’s poorest citizens. Most of these communities lack basic services such as running water and electricity and many suffer from flooding problems, health issues and high unemployment.

It will not be easy to tell this story because it is so complex.

There is much to tell in terms of the legislative and policy debates, but there are also important lessons about building communities.

The stories I’m able to tell through the lens of a camera are rarely talked about among mainstream America. Many times the issues I’ve examined are problems not many have thought about just like the colonias.

When Dr. Jaimie Chahin of Southwest Texas State University first approached me to tell the story of the children and their families who live in colonias, I readily accepted.

We have decided that this film will be an hour long and that it will take us a year to fully capture what it is like to live in the colonias.

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