The dedication and determination of the Puentes de Salud staff caught the attention of film producer Sara Bernstein, who suggested to Clínica de Migrantes director, Maxim Pozdorovkin, to visit the clinic in hopes of filming the work being done at the clinic.
“I went down there to see the work that they were doing, and I was so humbled and inspired by the work,” Pozdorovkin told ‘LLERO.
“It sounded like this David and Goliath story where this place was really going against the national immigration trend, as well as the trend in healthcare and corporate medicine. They were building something from the ground up, integrating the local community, and doing everything that needed to be done at the time—and not waiting for big forces to step in.”
Filming at the clinic for over a year, Pozdorovkin gives the world a front row seat to the experiences undocumented immigrants go through when they seek out medical care, which is something that was an eye-opener to the director himself.
“I think that there are so many things about the sort of medical issues that I didn’t realize. I didn’t understand that undocumented immigrants can’t buy health insurance even if they wanted to. I, like many other people, believed that undocumented immigrants could just go to any emergency room and get treated, and I realized that that’s far from the case, and it’s much more complicated,” Pozdorovkin stated, adding, “I realized to what extent in which this population really falls through the cracks, and I really couldn’t even have imagined it because I didn’t think about it. But, once you’re there and you’re seeing the people, you have a real realization.”
And, it is this sort of realization that those involved with the film hope will also reach the audience.
“Bringing up the issue for public conversation I think is important. I still come across a lot of people that think that undocumented immigrants take welfare, that they take all of these benefits, but they can’t access those benefits and they don’t. I think getting some of the real facts out there is important,” Dr. Owen said. “Additionally, I hope [Clínica de Migrantes] brings up the issue that in so many ways, immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are intertwined with all of our lives in the United States no matter where you live.”
As for Dr. Larson, his hopes for Clínica de Migrantes is that the film will get those who hold anti-immigrant sentiments to rethink their views and beliefs about this population.
“This is an opportunity to present a counter argument to all of the anti-immigrant individuals that are out there. Put a human face to this, and let people understand that there’s an opposite side to this discussion that has a long term impact on our nation and our communities,” Dr. Larson says. “Even if you can sway a small percentage of people, then the scales will tip in your favor.”