Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes
Pedro Flores has been in Garden City, Kansas for 13 years, separated from his wife, Ventura, and their six children by poverty, necessity and immigration law. He works as a meatpacker and lives frugally in a boarding house, trying to save up enough money to finally bring his family up from Mexico. The Flores’s six children—five girls and one boy—live with Ventura on an impoverished ranch 1500 miles and a hostile border away from Garden City. We follow Pedro as he returns to Mexico in hopes of bringing his family back with him.
The 1999 death of General Sani Abache paves the way for a fledgling democracy in Nigeria. When the Wiwa family gains permission to hold a proper burial for Ken Saro-Wiwa, Barine Wiwa-Lawani unexpectedly returns home for the ceremony. What was intended to be a private burial becomes an emotionally charged celebration by thousands of Ogonis. Despite her joy at being reunited with friends and family, Barine assures us that she has no desire to stay. “Even if it was safe, I could not come back and just live in Nigeria, but I can’t just live in America either. I now live between two cultures.”
Israel and Ngozi Nwidor could not afford to make the trip home, but we meet their families and learn more of how Israel’s activism lead to his torture and eventual flight to freedom in America. Ngozi becomes pregnant, a most welcome bit of news to their families in Nigeria.
"In the post-9/11 era, when many immigrants are looked upon with distrust, The New Americans offers a fresh perspective...a powerful and deeply personal documentary." - Suzanne Ryan, Boston Globe