Imaginary Mothers: A Journey of Loss for Costa Rican Mothers
Imaginary Mothers: A Journey of Loss for Costa Rican Mothers
This documentary gives voice to Mothers in Costa Rica who bravely speak out about their side of the adoption story.
This documentary gives voice to Mothers in Costa Rica who bravely speak out about their side of the adoption story. Read more
About this project
Encuentra abajo nuestro video en español
ABOUT THIS FILM
Imaginary Mothers is a feature-length documentary (currently in the final stages of post-production) about four mothers from Costa Rica: Crescencia Maria Castro Chaves, Helen Xiomara Barrantes Mora, Xinia Sancho Viquez and Doris Benavides Morales. These women’s lives have been forever changed by adoption. They bravely reveal the heart-breaking impact that losing their children has had on their lives. As they fight to be reconnected with their children, they also struggle against the painful stereotypes about young mothers in Latin America.
The director of Imaginary Mothers, Jacqueline Arias, is an adoptee from Costa Rica. She tells the story of her mother, Angela Arias, who never gave up hope to see her again. In making this film, Jacqueline learns about her Costa Rican family’s grief over her disappearance and their longing to find out the true story of her adoption.
As Jacqueline learns about her own story, she seeks out the stories of other mothers, like hers, who have lost their children. The mothers in this film speak out for recognition for the wrongs committed against them and their children. This is the first time these women tell their story and, in doing so, they reveal a universal truth about the need for redemption and validation for mothers combatting poverty and lack of social support. Together, these women find a voice in the film to tell their stories and demand social and political change.
Through the telling of this personal story, this film brings to light the circumstances surrounding international adoption in Latin America during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and the many warning signs that were ignored about corruption in international adoption. This film is dedicated to women all over the world who have lost their children through forced adoption.
The mysterious dark figure in my film represents, La Negrita, the black virgin patron saint of Costa Rica. Every August, hundreds of thousands of Costa Ricans make a pilgrimage to Cartago to thank her for miracles and ask her for blessings. In 1635, a young indigenous girl found a black statue of the Virgin Mary in the woods. She took it home, but it kept returning to the spot where she found it in the woods. A local priest saw it as a sign from God and decided to build the Basilica de Los Angeles on that spot to honor the miracle.
My mother, Angela Arias, always dreamed of making the trip to Cartago. In one of the few recordings I have of her she says, “I need to make the trip, go and pay her for the things she has done for me. Not only this miracle [of us finding her], but also many more.” She believed that her faith and continuous prayers brought us back together. In the spirit of La Negrita, it is my hope that this film brings other families together.
Music in the Film
Guadalupe Urbina, Costa Rican artist, musician and women’s rights advocate, has donated her music to this film as well as her beautiful artwork as rewards to our backers!
Guadalupe paints with acrylics and oils using paper made from natural fibers of tropical countries. She finds her major source of inspiration from the creation myths of pre-Columbian native peoples of Mesoamerica. Sequences reflect the creation story found in the Popol Vuh (Book of the Ancient Wisdom) of the Maya and Aztec codices. See examples and a video of Guadalupe performing below!
The Arroyo Family Reunion
When I first started working on this documentary, my hopes were to give birth mothers an opportunity to share their story. I didn’t fully understand that I might actually be a part of reuniting families. The experience of seeing a family come together has been overwhelming. Below is an excerpt of Selenia Cristina’s experience. Cristina has been a friend of my birth sister since childhood. While I was in Costa Rica I was able to find her family.
Remember, part of the funds for this documentary are going towards helping these mothers find their children. Please help us reunite these families.
How will the money be used?
Your generous support will go towards finishing our film, including final editing, post-production work and promotional materials.
When will this film be done?
We have shot 90% of this film. During the next two months we will be working with musicians, music composers, graphic designers and editors to meet our goal of a completed film by June 1. At which point, we will work with a sound mixer, color corrector and final editor to smooth at the rough edges. In June, we will begin to submit the film to film festivals. Your support will help us meet these goals.
I want to thank all those who have already supported this film. It was your initial support that funded the production in Costa Rica. I would never have met these women without you. If you gave last time the previous rewards are still good. All I ask of you is to share this with your friends and colleagues and help us get the word out.
Sobre Esta Pelicula
“Imaginary Mothers” es un largometraje documental (actualmente en las últimas etapas de pos-producción) acerca de cuatro madres costarricenses: Crescencia María Castro Chávez, Helen Xiomara Barrantes Mora, Xinia Sancho Víquez y Doris Benavides Morales.La vida de estas mujeres cambió para siempre debido a la adopción. Ellas valientemente revelan el desgarradorimpacto que ha generado en sus vidas el perder a sus hijos. Mientras luchan por reencontrarse con sus hijos, ellas también luchan con los dolorosos estereotipos acerca de las madres jóvenes en Latinoamérica.
La directora de “Imaginary Mothers”, Jacqueline arias, es adoptada de Costa Rica. Ella cuenta la historia de su madre, Ángela Arias, quien nunca perdió la esperanza de verla de nuevo. En la creación de este filme, Jacqueline conoció el dolor que vivió su familia tras su desaparicióny su anhelo por descubrir la verdadera historia de su adopción.
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Mientras Jacqueline conocía su propia historia, ella buscó la historia de otras madres, como la suya, que han perdido a sus hijos. Las madres en esta película hablan para que les reconozcan los errores cometidos contra ellas y sus hijos. Esta es la primera vez que estas mujeres cuentan su historia y al hacerlo, revelan una verdad universal acerca de la necesidad de redención y validación para las madres que combaten con la pobreza y la falta de ayuda social. Juntas, estas mujeres encuentran una voz en la película para contar sus historias y exigir un cambio social y político.
A través de contar esta historia personal, este filme trae a la luz circunstancias alrededor de la adopción internacional en Latinoámerica durante los 1980´s y 1990´s y las muchas señales de advertencia que fueron ignoradas acerca de la corrupción en la adopción internacional. Esta película está dedicada a las mujeres de todo el mundo que han perdido a sus hijos por culpa de la adopción obligada.
La Reunión de la Familia Arroyo
Cuando empecé a trabajar en este documental, mis esperanzas eran el dar a las madres biológicas la oportunidad de compartir su historia. Yo no entendía completamente que en realidad podría ser parte de su reunificación familiar. La experiencia de ver una familia reunida ha sido abrumadora. A continuación se muestra un extracto de la experiencia de Selenia Cristina. Cristina ha sido amiga de mi hermana desde la infancia. Mientras estuve en Costa Rica tuve la oportunidad de encontrar a su familia. RECUERDE PARTE DE LOS FONDOS PARA ESTE DOCUMENTAL ESTÁN DESTINADOS A CONTRATAR UN INVESTIGADOR PRIVADO EN COSTA RICA PARA ENCONTRAR A LOS HIJOS DE LAS MADRES INVOLUCRADAS. POR FAVOR AYÚDANOS A REUNIR A ESTAS FAMILIAS!
Risks and challenges
The making of a feature length film is always a risky undertaking. I've encountered many challenges throughout this process. One of my biggest obstacles was the language barrier. I was raised in the U.S. so my spanish is a little rusty. I overcame this obstacle by surrounding myself with dedicated professionals who have generously translated interviews, documents, press releases and emails for me. I am especially grateful to Sharon Weaver my producer who has been with me every step of the way. Each of us has been busy with other projects, while making this film, but always come back to it because we both care for these women and have been deeply touched by their lives.
The money from this fundraising campaign will help smooth out the post-production obstacles that lie ahead. I am hiring the best talent to complete the post production work, which includes motion graphics, sound mixing, color correcting and editing. That's why I need your support.
There is a good reason why it has taken me five years to complete this film. I never wanted to cut any corners when it came to creating the final story. I've always felt like I owed it to the mothers and to my mother to make the best film possible. I will never give up on this film. You can count on that!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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