Seeking Solutions: Our Documentary on Immigration

Watch the trailer below or the full video (55 minutes) here.

Thank you to everyone who supported our crowdfunding campaign for the documentary.

About the film:

Wife-husband team Polly Washburn and Adrian Montgomery produced this 55-minute documentary film, an exploration of problems with the current United States immigration system, and some solutions offered by a cross-selection of experts.. We interviewed 9 people with different perspectives, including Immigrants who have experienced first-hand the current immigration system, a lawyer who attempts to help would-be documented immigrants navigate the system, a politician with the power to influence the future of the system, a non-profit leader who helps immigrants integrate into his small community, a population expert talking about the environmental impact of immigration, and others.

Our main question for them: “What would a successful immigration system for the United States look like?” We followed up with questions along moral, economic and social axes, and what staying true to America’s values means. 

After collecting the solutions, we looked for overlap between them; in other words, a phrase too-little heard these days: common ground. We also integrated our own research, with information graphics and other visuals.

The impetus for the project was feeling like much of what passes for civil discourse these days is two people who claim polar opposite viewpoints yelling at each other. Or on social media people segregating into their respective bubbles and therefore avoiding other viewpoints all together. Meanwhile, the notion of “both sides” implies that there are only two solutions for any problem facing us today. We don’t believe that’s true, and we don’t think this approach leads to solutions.

We believe there are a spectrum of solutions, and we think exploring that spectrum could be beneficial to all citizens and politicians. As Quakers, we are Seekers of Truth, and we feel led to create journalistic explorations via documentary filmmaking, on topics that are affecting the future of this country and planet.

For our first film, we dove right into perhaps the most contentious topic of the day: immigration.

We began learning more about immigration in 2018 when we created videos of four Colorado women in sanctuary, and the spiritual leaders who are supporting them. Through our interviews, we found the topic and potential solutions to be much more complex and nuanced than it might appear from a quick glance at the nightly news or Twitter.

The project is an experiment, a leap of faith that productive discourse among people with different ideas is still possible. Our hope and intention is encourage critical analysis, burst “bubbles” by exposing viewers to positions different than theirs, and encourage people to examine the strength of their own positions.

See more resources at the documentary website.