Award Winning Filmmaker Yolanda Cruz November 2

October 15, 2010

Award-Winning Filmmaker Yolanda Cruz to Present her Work on Immigration and Indigenous Identity in the Global Economy at Evergreen November 2 in Lecture Hall 1 at 7 pm

Yolanda Cruz, an award-winning Chatino filmmaker from Oaxaca, Mexico, will present her most recent film and engage in discussion on documentary filmmaking and her experiences filming in indigenous Oaxacan villages, where migration to the U.S. has significantly changed the reality of life on both sides of the border. The event will take place on November 2 at The Evergreen State College in Lecture Hall 1 at 7 p.m.

Yolanda Cruz will also be a guest of the Shelton public schools, where she will be showing "2501 Migrants" to junior high school and high school students and will discuss the experiences that led her to become a filmmaker.

Cruz, a Sundance Institute NativeLab Fellow has produced seven documentaries on native people in the US and Mexico. Her first film while a graduate student at UCLA, Entre Sueños, was selected to the Sundance Film Festival in 2000.

Her other films include: Women Who Organize, a look at Mixtec women who have created a mini-credit to provide emergency funds to their community and Sueños Binacionales, a documentary about the bi-national experience of indigenous immigrants from Mexico. Guenati'za (The Visitors) is the story of Ulises, an Indian Zapotec who is a gardener in Los Angeles. The film follows him back to his community to host a traditional party in the Northern Mountains of Oaxaca. MENA features the stories of a group of indigenous women who are organizing the exportation of their product, the nopal cactus, to the United States.

Cruz' recent film, 2501 Migrants: A Journey, is a feature-length documentary that explores global migration through the art of Oaxacan artist, Alejandro Santiago. Upon his return from France to his village, Teococuilco, Alejandro experiences, first hand, the reality that Oaxaca has emerged as one of Mexico's leading exporters of human labor to the United States. In response, he decides to create a monumental installation art work: 2,501 life-size sculptures, in homage to each migrant who left his village.

The film was an Official Selection at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and was the Winner for Best Documentary Film at the Expresión en Corto International Film Festival. Additionally, 2501 Migrants has screened at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. It is also being screened at the Smithsonian in New York and Washington DC during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15).

Cruz' work has received support from The Rockefeller Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting and the Ford Foundation. Her films have been screened at film festivals and museums internationally, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Park la Villette in Paris and the National Institute of Cinema in Mexico City. Cruz is fluent in English, Spanish and Chatino, and harbors a passionate drive to increase the representation of indigenous people in the media.

In 2003, she formed Petate Productions. The focus of the company is to connect the voices of sustainable indigenous communities in Mexico with their new, still very Oaxacan communities throughout the U.S.

Yolanda Cruz graduated from The Evergreen State College with a concentration in filmmaking and film studies. She received her MFA from the University of California at Los Angeles. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband. For more information about Yolanda's work, please visit