America; I Too

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), presents its second short film; "America; I Too", starring Academy Award nominee Barkhad Abdi and featuring the music from Grammy winners Quetzal. Writer and first time Director Anike Tourse shares the interconnected stories of three arrested and detained immigrants who navigate the system as they attempt to prevent their deportation. Film is based on real testimonies and experiences. Closed captioning for "America: I Too" is available in Spanish, Korean, and simple Chinese.

  • Anike Tourse
  • Anike Tourse
    Know Your Rights, Writer
  • Daniel Sollinger
  • Barkhad Abdi
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    America; Yo Tambien
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 6, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    70,865 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Roxbury International Film Festival
    United States
    June 30, 2017
    Best Narrative Short
  • The Downtown Independent
    Los Angeles
    United States
    March 6, 2017
    North American Premiere
  • Docs Without Borders

    United States
    October 1, 2017
    Best in Show
  • Show me Justice Film Festival
    United States
    April 6, 2018
    Best Short Feature
  • (In)Justice For All Film Festival
    United States
    October 5, 2018
    Special Selection Honorable Short Film
  • FilmGirlFilm Festival
    United States
    October 13, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Official Latio short film festival
    United States
    October 11, 2018
    Official Selection
  • ChangeFest
    Chicago, IL
    United States
    September 28, 2017
    Official Selection
  • The Women's Film Festival
    Philadelphia, PA
    United States
    March 16, 2018
    Official Selection
  • DisOrient Asian American Film FEstival
    Eugen, OR
    United States
    March 15, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Beyond the Lens Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    April 21, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Global Impact Film Festival
    Washington, District of Columbia
    United States
    August 24, 2018
    Official Selection
  • NYC Indie & Foreign Film Fesitval
    New York, New York
    United States
    October 18, 2018
    Migrant Center Award
  • Baja California International Film Festival
    Tijuana, Baja California
    June 22, 2019
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Anike Tourse

Anike Tourse is a multimedia maker with accomplishments both in front of, and behind, the scenes. She has written for television series including One Life to Live, and Girlfriends, and is the writer and director of award-winning short film America; I Too now in distribution with New Day Films.

Anike has penned and performed several solo shows touring her productions across the country as well as for the Edinburgh (Scotland) Fringe Festival; the largest international theater festival in the world, on a national Nigerian tour sponsored by the 7-UP Bottling Company and most recently as the key note performance for the Bates College Student orientation. Anike’s projects in development include the animated short film “Frances the Fish” about the little salmon that could.

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Director Statement

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) commissioned the short film not knowing production would start on the same day President Trump signed an Executive Order to deny U.S. entrance to anyone from the seven countries of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. Academy award nominee Barkhad Abdi signed up for the project unaware that two of the places he lived - Somalia and Yemen would be included in the ban. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, on April 10, 1985, Abdi earned wide acclaim for his first film role in Captain Phillips (2013) and has gone on to be cast in the highly anticipated “Blade Runner” reboot.

"America; I Too" draws its title from the Langston Hughes poem "I Too," and is as much a work of protest and community organizing as it is a work of art. The film features a predominantly immigrant cast and crew including over 250 Extras, most of whom are undocumented immigrants living in greater Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, and Lancaster, California. The cast and crew worked together to shoot the short in just three days, creating an empowerment tool for immigrant communities desperate for education around what to do in the event of arrest or pending deportation couched in a personal and moving story.

As my directorial debut it has been a joy for me to work on this project. My hope is that this film will give a sense of what undocumented immigrant families and detainees are struggling with in the United States as well as remind Americans of what is at the core of the American Dream; justice, fairness, opportunity and yes, fighting like hell for our constitutional rights.