Bienvenidos a Los Angeles


Some years ago, my close family friend, Elizabeth, planned to reunite with her 5-year-old son Chris, who’d been living apart from her in Mexico for more than four years. When Chris arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, he was detained by immigration. It was a harrowing and emotional night that inspired this short film. My small role in the ordeal, as the person who went into LAX to pick up Chris, became an education. As a white American, my understanding of the profound fear and uncertainty faced by many immigrants had been obscured by privilege. The truth had a lasting impact and became this film. I'm honored that Elizabeth trusts me to share her story.

When first considering writing the script, I knew I didn’t want to lens it from my point of view, so I turned to Sumangala Bhattacharya, an immigration attorney, for help. Sumangala consulted with me for the past couple of years, and I owe her a heap of gratitude for helping me better understand the rigors and realities of the system. Her input also helped me craft a few fictional supporting characters in the story.

The goal from the beginning was for Elizabeth to claim ownership of her own narrative. As a white filmmaker sharing a BIPOC story, I needed to check my director’s ego and learn to work as an ally. I am so grateful to Elizabeth, her family, and our dedicated diverse crew of creatives, who worked tirelessly to bring this story to life. I’m also proud that we are a female-forward production behind and in front of the camera.

We are sharing this film to open hearts and minds by putting faces on the complicated issues of immigration. When one looks beyond limitations imposed by societal labels, beautiful complex human beings come into focus, and a kinder world emerges.

— Lisa Cole