Immigration Film Series

In 2002, I independently curated a film series at the now-disappeared Two Boots Pioneer Theater on Avenue A and E. 3rd Street in Manhattan. Initially, the series was launched as a way to leverage a relationship I had built with the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University. (Two years before, I had co-curated another film series specifically on Yiddish film at the also now-disappeared Tonic club on the Lower East Side.) The Center aimed to restore a canonical Yiddish film from 1940 called Motl the Operator and they hoped I might be able to provide a letter of support for the endeavor from the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where I worked at the time. I did and, as a result, I was able to develop a film series, sponsored by the museum, on the topic of immigration & labor. The centerpiece of the series was (you guessed it) the premiere of the newly-restored Motl the Operator. Other films included Marva Nabili’s Nightsongs (1984) about a family of garment and restaurant workers in New York’s Chinatown, Vivek Renjen Bald’s Taxi-vala/Auto-biography (1996) about South Asian taxi drivers trying to make a living in New York, and Hye Jung Park and JT Takagi’s The #7 Train: An Immigrant Journey (1999), which follows the lives of immigrant workers living along the #7 subway line in Queens, New York.

2 thoughts on “Immigration Film Series

    1. I haven’t had access to these films since 2002, but I think you can rent a few via your local public library! And, not that I’m suggesting anyone abuse copyright law, but I think some might be on YouTube…

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