Earlier this year, we were looking for a way to engage North Carolina in a constructive conversation about immigration when we heard about a new documentary film that was being completed by the Durham-based filmmaker Charlie Thompson. This new film, called Brother Towns / Pueblos Hermanos, examines the themes of migration, work and family across thousands of miles. When we talked to Charlie about using the film as part of a statewide series, he was excited about the potential to connect with new audiences in congregations from Asheville to Wilmington.
Well, our fall film series was a huge success by any measure. Nearly 1,000 people saw the film in these 8 cities: Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, Greenville and Wilmington. Along the way, we partnered with dozens of state and local groups and two film festivals (NC Latin American Film Festival and Cucalorus). The series was mentioned in several news articles (here and here), and just last week, Charlie was featured on WUNC’s “The State of Things” (click here to listen). Many people took home copies of the film to watch with their friends and neighbors.
As we embarked on this tour, Charlie said: “There are no better sources to turn to regarding how to treat our neighbors — not only those we choose, but those we have — than our religious traditions. The Bible, for example, is filled with quotes regarding how to live with immigrants and other people we might not know. This film is called Brother Towns in part because it also is about a community that addresses how neighbors of different origins can live together. It is not a religious film, per se, but it will have resonance with many persons of faith.”
We’re really grateful to everyone who helped make this work – especially Charlie. We know that immigration continues to be a complex and controversial topic, and we still have a lot of work to do. But we celebrate the success of these screenings, and we hope to see you again soon.
-Chris Liu-Beers, Program Associate