We started filming in Mexico in September 2019. Our goal was to document the experience of displaced women and give a face to the asylum seeking process. We met an asylum seeker from Honduras named Kensy at one of the migrant shelters in Tijuana. We immediately found her to be a powerful and empathetic subject. She has lived through many of the hardships that displaced people experience and it was clear her love as a mother was what gave her the strength to continue fighting for a better life for her family. We spent a few days filming her in Tijuana where she told us about her difficult journey to the migrant camps, the importance of having a home for her family, and her hopes for the future. When we returned to the states after filming, we didn’t think we would ever see her again.
We released our footage of Kensy in April 2020 as a documentary short film titled, We Do Not Live Here. The short won the audience choice award at the Matador Virtual Film Festival and received a culture feature in Rolling Stone Magazine.
Days after the premiering our short film, we found out that Kensy had been released into the United States. She was given an ankle monitor and allowed to reunite with her family in Los Angeles while she continued her asylum claim. We worked closely with UNICEF to find her an attorney (less than 2% of asylum seekers globally have legal representation) and Kensy is now represented by Jewish Family Service in San Diego.
We are continuing to film her journey through the asylum process and are expanding the project into a documentary feature film. By diving deeper into Kensy’s story and giving her a bigger platform, we are able to further humanize the narrative of asylum seekers everywhere. We will lift the veil on the asylum process and show just how challenging it can be to try to provide a better life for your family in today’s world.