After enduring a 2008 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, immigrant workers were left without a job and wondering if and when they'd be deported. Many shared their stories of abuse endured at the plant and also the love for their community. Film maker Luis Argueta was there documenting the aftermath of the raid when many of the workers obtained U-Visas to remain in the United States. He compiled the footage from that day for "The U Turn," the third film in his immigration trilogy.
The 2017 documentary will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in Valders Hall of Science Room 206, on the Luther College campus. Argueta will be present for the film debut and discussion immediately following. The film and conversation with Argueta are open to the public with no charge for admission.
The screening is sponsored by College Ministries, Modern Languages, Literacy and Linguistics Department, the Diversity Center and Hola Enlaces.
The other films in the trilogy include:
- "abUSed," which focused on the raid itself and the effects on immigration policies.
- "Abrazos," which followed 14 U.S. citizen children who traveled to Guatemala to meet their grandparents and siblings.
The final film in the series focuses on the U-Visa process. U-Visas are granted for victims of crime of mental or physical abuse who assist law enforcement and the government in an investigation. In Postville, 179 U-Visas were granted to workers and their families, including child laborers. "The U Turn" shares the victims' stories of stifling their fear in order to document the abuse they endured in the workplace and also shows the outpouring of support the families received from the Postville community and how important that support was to the victims as they faced an uncertain future.
Argueta is a Guatemalan-American film director and producer. Since 1977, he has focused on transnational immigrant stories. He has directed six documentaries, three short films and two feature films. In 2015, he was presented the Order of Quetzal in the degree of Grand Officer, the highest honor awarded by Guatemala. He was recognized "for his dedication to documenting the lives of Guatemalan migrants in the United States, with the aim of raising awareness of the living situations of those far from their home and their family, and to present such work in forums, conferences and international film festivals."
Argueta received a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master of Fine Arts in romance languages from Michigan. He completed Ph.D. course work in comparative literature and film from Michigan.
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.