As an undocumented immigrant and gay man, Moises Serrano fights for justice in a country that refuses to recognize his full humanity.
No matter where you came from or how you got here, the American dream is the same: we all want the freedom to live without fear, to have equal opportunities, and to be able to openly love whom we love.
When Moises was 18 months old, his parents risked their lives bringing him across the US/Mexican border to rural North Carolina in search of steady work. Years later, as an undocumented, gay man full of ambition and talent, he was barred from attending community college, faced limited job opportunities, and regularly dealt with prejudices against both his ethnicity and sexuality. At age 21, he was on the brink of suicide. Out of his darkest moments he discovered his life's passion—his role as an activist. forb(i)dden begins with Moises fighting for immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, and justice for all people. As he is about to move out of his mother’s house and move in with his partner Brandon of three years, many large life questions are looming. On a daily basis, he oscillates between hope and exhaustion. Our hope is that the film will conclude with Moises able to enroll in college and resolving his quest for a path to citizenship.
Moises faces significant hurdles based on his undocumented status, his sexuality, and the limited resources available living in a rural area. Through his story of personal transformation we want audiences to ask themselves reflective questions: How can obstacles in our lives lead us to our life purpose? How can we create change in our communities, state and country? How can different oppressed groups work together for justice?
Although Moises recently received his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) approval and a work permit, he does not currently possess a viable pathway to be able to stay in the United States legally. His story relates directly to the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S., many of whom are under threat of deportation.
We first met Moises while doing a routine interview for a production company. The chemistry was palpable and we felt a powerful connection through a singular and potent cause: equality. We were drawn to his vulnerability in telling his audacious story of coming to the United States with his family as a young child. Over the past year, we have developed a close relationship with Moises, giving us access to his frustrations, fears, and dreams. This enables us to tell his story through an intimate and passionate lens that will inspire, educate, and move viewers to fight for equality.
Moises is an ideal character for challenging stereotypes about undocumented immigrants and same-sex couples. Viewers can readily connect to his passion, complexity, and all-around likability. Operating first as an episode-based website series, Moises’ story will contribute to the national conversation on LGBTQ rights and immigration issues. The website will also feature tangible ways to get involved and reliable, up-to-date information. We are building partnerships with grassroots organizations committed to these issues, which will increase our visibility, viewership, and impact in public discourse surrounding these issues.
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Special Thanks to Joe Jowers and Jafa Fielder for helping us film the Kickstarter video!!!
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One of the biggest challenges with this project is securing on-going funding to see it through to completion. The website is the first step in gaining exposure and will help generate interest and financial support for the feature length documentary. We want the project to be alive and breathing, informing people about ways to get involved and to care about these very important human rights issues.
Another hurdle we face is time. Making a documentary requires many hours filming, editing and driving to shooting locations. Taking time off from our regular jobs will allow us to dedicate the time necessary to complete this project. We are currently submitting grant applications to organizations and foundations that support human rights and social justice issues. Our diverse skill set and combined experience puts us in a good position for success. Kathi brings a keen eye has a photographer and an empathic ear from years as a social worker and Tiffany draws from her background in dance for the camera filmmaking and editing expertise. Tiffany and Kathi have experience working on socially conscious documentary projects and have had successful track records in securing grant funding. Our executive producer, esteemed filmmaker Peter Gilbert, is advising us throughout our process.
Although Moises is the subject of our project, he is an active collaborator and without his trust and our tight relationship, we would not be able to move this documentary forward. We are fully committed to Moises and to using our filmmaking skills to help him reach his dream of sharing his story with thousands of people. We feel that we were brought together for the purpose of creating this project and delivering a message of positive change and transformation. Whatever it takes, we will find a way to see forb(i)dden through to completion! We hope you will help by contributing to our campaign for a better future.
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