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Yearning to Breathe Free: Meet the Press Film Festival with AFI

Yearning to Breathe Free: Meet the Press Film Festival with AFI

PROGRAM 5 - Yearning to Breathe Free

These films follow the largely untold stories of peculiar circumstances facing different groups and individuals here in America that are fleeing oppression, challenging paradigms, searching for answers, and taking a stand.

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Ghosts of Sugar Land

Directed by Bassam Tariq, USA. In Sugar Land, Texas, the film follows a group of young Muslim American men as they ponder the disappearance of their friend Mark who is suspected of joining ISIS.

Enforcement Hours

Directed by Paloma Martinez, USA. In the Bay Area, the San Francisco Rapid Response Network, along with sister networks across California, serves as the front line of the local fight against the current wave federal immigration mandates. The network, the first of its kind in the country, maintains a 24-hour hotline where residents, hoping for quick legal support, can call to report suspected Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) presence in their neighborhood. Unexpectedly, the hotline’s volunteers have become stewards for a confused and scared population, desperate to find answers amid chaos. Using real phone calls, Enforcement Hours explores this abstract, faceless world. Anonymous callers, their intentions unknown, punctuate unpredictable movements across San Francisco.

Hiding From China

Directed by Nic Pollock, USA. Washington, D.C. is now home to the largest community of Uighurs in America. However, Uighurs there say that they are still not safe; many reports being contacted and threatened by Chinese authorities. In this documentary from The Atlantic, we hear from Uighurs in the U.S. who are under threat from China.


Directed by Jorge Gomez, USA. Atrevidos is a documentary about a man who invited one of the most notorious and controversial leaders of the 20th century, Fidel Castro, to one of the most afflicted urban areas in the country, the Bronx. Residing in the Bronx for 50 years, Julio has seen the highs and lows of his neighborhood. In 1995, the U.N. held its 50th anniversary, and while Mayor Rudy Giuliani invited most of the world leaders to various dinners and events, Julio decided to have a dinner of his own and invite Fidel Castro to his Sierra Maestra.

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