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The documentary Nuestra Comunidad: Latinos in North Carolina (58:35 minutes) was shot in digital format and highlights key historical moments of the recent Latino immigrant experience in North Carolina. The documentary looks at North Carolina's transformation in the twenty-first century, with its changing demographics, in this case focusing on the increasing numbers of Latinos moving into the state during the last decade. This demographic shift reflects a change that is taking place not only at the state level, but at the national level as well. The video examines some of the issues confronting Latinos in this southern state as well as the very positive impact their arrival has had on North Carolina's economy. The documentary also reflects on cultural encounters between Anglos and Latinos in a state that, prior to the last decade, had relatively few Latinos. North Carolina experienced an increase of over 400% in its Latino population during the 1990s. Five out of thirty U.S. counties experiencing the most rapid growth in Latino population between 1990 and 1996 are located in North Carolina. Potential for continued growth is great because more than half of the state's Latino immigrants are between eighteen and thirty-five years of age. Over 55 hours of footage were shot for the project between 1999 and 2001.
The first public screenings of Nuestra Comunidad: Latinos in North Carolina were held during the XV NC Latin American Film Festival in November of 2001 on three different North Carolina university campuses. Additional screenings by invitation were programmed throughout 2002 at conferences, seminars and forums. Also in 2002 the documentary was featured in film festivals in San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, and Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and in 2003 in Holland, Michigan. It has been broadcast wordwide by TVE SA of Spain in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas and in North Carolina on public television in 2003.
This documentary was made possible in part by grants from the North Carolina Humanities Council, the Institute for Southern Studies and through in-kind support from El Centro Hispano, Inc., the Department of Communications of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, New Century Digital Media of Chapel Hill, and with the help of family, friends and North Carolina's Latino community.
"This is a documentary that avoids sentimentality without sacrificing a sense of solidarity with its subject. The breadth and depth of Nuestra Comunidad make it an invaluable social document and a much needed addition to the immigration debate."
– Film Scholar Dr. Keith Richards, Wake Forest University 2002
"I think you can show a film like ("Nuestra Comunidad...") and have some really good discussions," Mújica said. "It's a very balanced film, and it really talks about what's going on in North Carolina. I think a lot of communities are waiting for something like this."
– Sharon Mújica, Outreach Director of the Consortium in Latin American Studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill - UNC News Service Oct. 25, 2001 - No. 540
"Nuestra Comunidad - Latinos in North Carolina is a great educational tool for creating cultural awareness and in workshops for diversity counselors...a "must-have" for any hospital, health department and school system impacted by the growing Spanish-speaking community
– Al Cole, Marketing Director, American Social Health Association 2003
"Nuestra Comunidad is a very important film for the Arkansas natives and the Latino community to see."
– Annalouiza Armendariz - Hot Springs Documentary Film Fesitval Screening Committee September 2002
"...The movie was amazing. It was great to see so many familiar faces from our community here in North Carolina discussing many of the issues we hope to learn more about and possiblity document in Mexico."
– Jessica Clough Valverde - Students of the World, Duke University Class of 2003