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Family, Human Rights, Economics/Industry
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North America, Latin America
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Immigration
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Próspero is a documentary that explores the migrant dream. Many people sacrifice their lives for the American dream, but are often surprised by the outcome.
José Márquez

2016 — student

About José Márquez

José Márquez is a Mexican-American documentary photographer and filmmaker based in the Greater Los Angeles area. He recently received his Bachelors of Science in Visual Journalism from Brooks Institute.

José’s documentary work deals with issues that shape identity, LGBTQ, and multicultural issues.

Próspero tells the story of a man who believed in the American Dream and ran for his life across the border from Mexico to the United States to follow his dreams. This film is about how this man was not able to achieve his dreams but found something beautiful and far more sacred than he would have ever imagined. This verité style film follows the lives of Genaro and his family in Los Angeles, California as he seeks meaning in life as an immigrant. Genaro met and fell in love with a woman named, Romelia in the states, whom already had four children with another man. Genaro stepped in as their father figure because their real father was no longer in the picture. He found that it wasn’t long before he loved these four girls as though they were his own daughters. In the film, these girls bring the humor of youth, the blend of Mexican American culture, and a reason for Genaro to live. While working 6-7 days a week, and making barely enough to get by, he blames himself for not trying to get his legal citizenship earlier in life.

In today’s world of political conversation over immigration issues and cultural differences, there is an urgent need for understanding and acceptance of immigrants. Society would benefit from hearing the perspective of a compelling, hard-working family man, who happens to be an undocumented Mexican immigrant. For many Americans, undocumented immigrants are seen as an unnecessary burden, and in conversation are identified and referenced as a number or an entire group rather than a human being with very similar needs and wants as the majority of us. It is important that the true reality and humanity of these people are shared, and their stories and experiences are the best way to relate.

Genaro plans to take his girlfriend and her daughters to Mexico to visit their family and friends for the first time in years. The film could greatly benefit from having traditional cultural context and could give perspective to those who don’t know what it’s like to leave your homeland. I will be traveling to Mexico to document their journey home and their journey back into the United States after their visit is over. The project right now is in need of scoring and compelling visuals that convey the meaning of life amidst under-acknowledged sacrifice. I aim to submit this documentary film to festivals around the world and have it published on progressive online platforms like Media Storm. Thank you for any and all consideration.

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Genaro turns on the news at 4:30am before he gets ready for work. (© José Márquez)
Romelia, left, makes scrambled eggs for breakfast for her and her boyfriend, Genaro, left. She cleans houses for a living and Genaro does all sorts of construction jobs in the greater Los Angeles area. (© José Márquez)
Genaro and his partner work on the piping in the ceiling of a dentist office. They are building the entire inside of the dentist office on their own. (© José Márquez)
Ariadna, left, and Abbey, right carve pumpkins in October while talking about their mom and Genaro's illegal immigrant status. Genaro is not legally their dad, but he loves them like they are his own daughters. (© José Márquez)
Genaro works on a dentist office while he is interviewed about the wages and hours he works in order to survive as an illegal immigrant. (© José Márquez)
Genaro works on a dentist office while he is interviewed about the wages and hours he works in order to survive as an illegal immigrant. (© José Márquez)
Genaro closes the dentist office after a long and hard day's work. (© José Márquez)
Genaro, left, plays with Romelia's hair as they sit with eachother on the couch and relax after a long day of hard work. (© José Márquez)
Genaro practices dancing with Ariadna for her quinceanera to prepare for the "Father-Daughter Dance." (© José Márquez)
Genaro joins his family on the grass outside of their apartement in El Monte, California, to play a game before the sun goes down. (© José Márquez)