Los Otros

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Americans are deported from the United States to "their country of origin" every year. What happens to these "non-citizens" after they return to a country they barely know? The short documentary Los Otros profiles three such undocumented individuals as they rebuild their lives in Mexico City. Separated from family and starting all over with nothing, they attempt to forge new lives in the shadow of a broken immigration system and a country not prepared for their return. 

  • Monica Pendergrass
  • Eric Baldetti
    3 Acres in Detroit, 48217 Mesh, True Wheel
  • Monica Pendergrass
  • Jonathan Stein
    Out of the Village
  • Esmerelda Flores
    Key Cast
  • Fredy Clorio
    Key Cast
  • Aron
    Key Cast
  • Max Braverman
    One Small Step, Diagnosis
  • Kevin Lax
  • Orland Perez Rosso
  • Asa Fox - Encore Hollywood
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Los Otros
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Humano Film Festival
Director Biography - Monica Pendergrass, Eric Baldetti

Monica Pendergrass is an independent filmmaker from Texas. She has a bachelor’s degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. After assisting numerous photographers including Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Keating, she went on to study cinematography at NYU’s School of Professional Studies. She has since worked on numerous films, commercials and music videos, alternating between graphic design and directing. She has collaborated with various filmmakers including Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Black Fish), Antonio Campos (After School), Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Josh Mond (James White), and many others. Her passion for storytelling and human rights led her to pursue filmmaking in Los Angeles where she now lives and works. She is committed to bringing a voice to women and the under-represented and believes strongly in the highlighting the Latino experience. She is always in search of ways to leverage her talents in filmmaking for good causes.

Eric Baldetti is a filmmaker born, raised, and currently living in Los Angeles. A graduate of Bard College’s Film program, he has since worked in the film industry, both as a director/cinematographer and as graphic designer on projects both large and small. He has collaborated with numerous filmmakers such as Emmanuel Lubezki (Tree of Life, etc), Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Black Fish), Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong Skull: Island) and Lucy Walker (Waste Land), among others.

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Director Statement

An ever growing number of people are returning to Mexico from the United States. Many are faced with forced deportation while others, deprived of opportunity because of their status, choose to return on their own.

In the current political climate, the narrative is so contentious that we seldom have an opportunity to follow up on the lives of these people after they have returned to a home they no longer remember. How do they adapt to a new culture, a foreign language, and a world neither welcoming nor prepared for their arrival? While some may be fortunate to have family awaiting them, others find themselves alone, adrift between cultures, striving to rebuild a life.

Aware of how often deportation narratives are manipulated in the public discourse, as filmmakers we focused on giving our subjects the space to open up and tell their stories in their own words. We decided to feature three unique individuals at very different stages in their journey. Often their stories shared surprising similarities but resulted in very different perspectives. Esmeralda (a Dreamer) and Alec (a Marine veteran) have been back in Mexico for years. While still very emotional and angry over their respective deportation experiences, they found a home in a foreign environment and translated their scars into a sense of purpose. Fredy, on the other hand, just returned to Mexico City only one month prior. Still in shock and suffering, he struggled to even imagine a path forward after leaving behind a life and family in the United States. Despite the differences between them, we were profoundly moved by the one quality they all shared - the dignity and grace with which they faced the cruel whims of a broken system.

There are thousands of undocumented Veterans of the US military who have been deported despite promises of citizenship. We felt it was incredibly important to find someone who could speak to this experience; this proved to be a very difficult search. Whether too bitter, too prideful, or afraid of being targeted by cartels, most veterans were unsurprisingly apprehensive and unwilling to come forward with their stories on camera. Alec was brave enough to share parts of his experience but because of an ongoing legal case affecting his citizenship, he chose to remain anonymous.

We were able to find these stories with the help of two non-profit immigration organizations in Mexico City - New Comienzos and Otros Dreams en Acción. Both are organizations dedicated to helping deportees build a new life. Born out of necessity, they fill the void where politics and society fail. They have built a community and provide support for new arrivals by offering language classes, home and job placement, legal advice, and most importantly a sense of family. By sharing some of these experiences in our film, we hope to bring attention to the profound work that these organizations are doing, in hopes that they can continue to expand into more communities throughout Mexico. We hope our film reminds people of our common humanity and that, in the end, migration is a fundamental human right.