Why I made Moving In Place, a documentary about young Puerto Ricans

Scroll down to the end of this article to view our trailer.

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Standing in for a test shot in Kissimmee, FL.

A vicious cycle of migration and debt

Throughout the island’s history, a steady flow of migrants has evacuated the island, constituting what is known as the Puerto Rican Diaspora. In fact, the the first wave of migration to the US dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, while Puerto Rico was still a Spanish colony. When the island became a US territory in 1898, people continued to make their way to “the mainland.” Migration picked up when Puerto Ricans were granted American citizenship in 1917 under the Jones-Shafroth Act (implemented primarily to enable Puerto Ricans to serve in our military), and then again in the 50s after WW2. The diaspora has since evolved into an alarming brain drain as the island’s debt crisis has deepened with every passing decade.

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Alexis Herrera-Schmidt in Williamsburg, NYC.
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Speaking with Mara Pastor during a shoot in Ponce, PR.

An outsider’s perspective

You might be wondering — why her? A director who isn’t Puerto Rican sharing Puerto Rican stories? Who is she to take on that role? The answer: because I get it (and I can). I am a first-generation Indian American who has always been stuck between identities. My own experience is obviously different, but I understand deeply the feeling of being torn between cultures.

Watch the trailer below:

Email us at movinginplacefilm@gmail.com with any questions or thoughts.

Tired in Los Angeles. (Previously: Berkeley, NYC and Mainz, Germany)

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