Sunday, September 24, 2023

Film broaches topic through human lens

The film “Smuggled,” depicts the story of a 9-year-old boy and his mother on their journey across the US-Mexico border inside a hidden compartment underneath a bus.

The film was presented by the Department of Anthropology, the Anthropology Club, Latin American Studies program, PSUC chapter of Sigma Lambda Upsilon and the Honors Center.

The director of “Smuggled” Ramon Hamilton said the film will help people understand more fully why immigrants choose to cross the border.

“It’s a very important project to me,” Hamilton said. “It touches on a very important topic in this country.”

Hamilton said the approach he took with the film was to look at immigration as less like an issue and more about the human beings involved.

“The problem nowadays is that (immigration) becomes talked about as a issue and we look at it in terms of borders,” he said. “We lose the individual human stories behind these so-called issues.”

Hamilton said the film follows two people, and they use them as a microcosm of what others may have experienced.

Hamilton said he wants people to sympathize as much as possible.

“The film is not going to educate anybody on the issue of immigration, it’s not going to break down numbers or statistics,” Hamilton said. “What it is going to do is allow people to spend time with two people. They are going to spend 80 minutes with them, get to know them and understand their relationship.”

Hamilton said there are hundreds of thousands people that are trying to cross the border, and each one of those people has their own story.

“We would be doing an injustice if we just lumped them all together,” he said.

This was the first feature film Hamilton’s film production company, Think 10 Media Group made. The concept for the film came to Hamilton prior to him going into the film industry.

“I used to run a construction company and most of the guys that worked there were from Colombia,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said one day he was a having a barbecue and a worker told him about his journey across the border. The worker came to the states in a similar manner seen in the film.

“He was smuggled in a tiny compartment in the back of a bus,” Hamilton said.“The guy was in there for more than 24 hours in a very tight space.”

That experience made Hamilton realize the commitment and sacrifice one goes through and wanted to use that as an opportunity to see if he could bring that story to life in a feature film.

“I chose the mother and son pair because I personally had a very strong relationship with my mother,” Hamilton said. “So a lot of that dynamic and chemistry you see in the film comes from my own personal experience with her.”

PSUC alumni Desiree Gonzalez said she enjoyed the film and praised it for bringing up a topic that needs to be talked about more.

“I think a film like this can definitely open up your perspective on stuff like this,” Gonzalez said. “The relationship with the mother and son is something we can all relate to.

PSUC junior Latin American Studies major Magdalena Mejia said the film brought a perspective different from what you may learn in the classroom.

“Just try to hold back tears. It’s definitely something that’s emotionally impactful,” Mejia said.

Email David Luces at

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