Home with America (United States, 13 min)

Directed by: Alvaro Morales

In the experimental VR creative documentary, 'Home with América,' we meet Gladys, an undocumented immigrant living in Los Angeles. Gladys hasn't returned to her native Lima, Peru in 22 years. Like countless immigrants from her generation-- the parents of 'DREAMers'-- she cannot travel abroad to embrace a dying loved one. Gladys's mother, América, recently lost her ability to walk and talk due to illness. Gladys and América have effectively lost the only way they can communicate across borders. As Gladys narrates her recollection of her mother's once-adored, now-forgotten living room, viewers are immersed in photorealistic 3D replicas of her childhood home in Peru. By walking around and interacting with family heirlooms in the room, Gladys shares her nostalgia for a place she cannot return to and explains why she and her family were pushed to move to the U.S. during a period of economic and political instability. Gladys also shows viewers why she made this sacrifice: she invites us into her living room in Los Angeles to share the roots she's established in her new home. Exploring themes of nostalgia, family separation, and home, 'Home with América' follows Gladys's act of poetic resistance to physical borders. Gladys finds a way, however imperfect and ephemeral, to connect with her mother. Viewers witness Gladys embrace her mother. Yet, their last embrace unravels to reveal a cruel reality: Gladys's 'homecoming' only occurred through a virtual reality headset. Viewers will have been as close to América and Gladys's childhood home as Gladys herself can get, thereby revealing the limited power of using technological progress to cover up our society's stalled political progress.