Meet Ale Y Yose, two DREAMers figuring out high school, immigration law and family dynamics.

High school is hard enough, being a DREAMer during the age of immigration laws shifting like sand is even harder. Ale y Yose is a short documentary film about adolescence, friendship, home, and belonging. The film follows friends and DREAMers Alejandra Matias and Yoselina Bazan over the course of 6 months.

Ale and Yose both came to the United States when they were four years old and grew up in Oakland, California. In 2012, both were eligible for and received DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

Often called DREAMers, studies show that DACA recipients achieve better economic opportunity, attain higher education, enroll in health insurance, and participate more in their local communities. However, in the current political environment, Ale and Yose are unsure of what the future holds. While they fear being deported, their other fears parallel young people of their age—not amounting to anything in life. The film takes place in 2017-2018, in Ale’s senior year of high school and Yose’s junior year, and interweaves home movies shot by Ale and Yose, and interview and observational footage shot by the filmmaker.

At a time where undocumented immigrants, the Latino community, and DREAMers are under attack, Ale y Yose offers an intimate glimpse into the lives and perspectives of two girls at the forefront of these intersecting issues. Undocumented yet unafraid, Ale and Yose both fit and break the mold of a US teenager.

Director’s Statement: Erin Semine Kökdil -

I had the incredible fortune of meeting Ale and Yose through the Oakland-based organization 67 Sueños, which works with undocumented youth and youth from mixed status families in Oakland, California. I spent several months getting to know them and building trust before we started filming. When we did start filming, I decided to work in a way that was more collaborative than my past work – providing Ale and Yose with cameras and having them actively film their lives. This decision came from my desire to give them more agency in their image and the way they were portrayed. When we started filming, I was immediately taken aback by their willingness to be so vulnerable and share such personal aspects of their lives—their struggles, fears, and dreams.

As a filmmaker, I am interested in leveraging the power of film to build solidarity and incite social change. Each of my past films incorporated a level of collaboration, something that is extremely important to my work. As I continue my career as a filmmaker, I have a continued interest in improving this collaborative practice between the protagonists of the film and myself, ensuring that the process of opening one’s life to the filmmaking process is empowering and strengthening rather than extractive and exploitative.

I learned so much in the process of making this film and will carry this experience of working with Ale and Yose with me forever.

 

Ale Y Yose Director Erin Semine Kökdil

Director Bio:

Erin Semine Kökdil is a storyteller interested in building solidarity and inciting social change through films. Her work deals with issues of trauma, marginalization, and migration she has screened at IDFA, Hot Docs, Camden International Film Festival, and Palm Springs International ShortFest. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Erin worked extensively with non-profits and community-led initiatives in the U.S. and Guatemala. Erin holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish from Smith College and an M.F.A. in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University. She is currently in post-production on her short documentary “Since you arrived, my heart stopped belonging to me” and has been awarded a 2020 SFFilm FilmHouse artist residency.

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Credits: 

A Film By: Erin Semine Kökdil

In Collaboration With: Alejandra Matias and Yoselina Bazan

Cinematography: Alejandra Matias, Yoselina Bazan, Erin Semine Kökdil

Additional Camera: Eliva Shaw and Paloma Martinez

Production Assistance & Sound: Eliva Shaw, Azar Kafaei, Chris Filippone

Faculty Advisors: Jamie Meltzer, Srdan Keca, Jan Krawitz

Technical Advisors: Mark Urbanek and Paul Meyers

Colorist: Mark Sterne

Sound Mixer: Erik Reimers

Music: “Something Elated” by Broke for Free; “Lucy’s Song” by Ryan Little

Poetry: Excerpt from “Let Me Try Again,” Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora

Special Thanks: Linda Sanchez, 67 Sueños, Javier Zamora, Ann Brown, MetWest High School, The Matias and Bazan Families, Zulfiya Hamzaki, Nathan Reich, Nico Sandi, Melissa Langer, Cecil Hooker, Laura Oaksmith, Sami Kökdil, Colleen Oaksmith, Jenn Miller Scarnato, Sarah Kate Heilbrun, Humberto Ortiz-Silva, Priscilla González Sainz, Laura Tejero Núñez, Dinesh Das Sabu, Adam Tobin, Yvette Borja

Funded in part through a grant from The Breitrose Awards, by The Enersen Foundation

Produced in the Documentary Film M.F.A. Program, Department of Art & Art History, Stanford University

© 2018 Erin Semine Kökdil