Private Project


An undocumented Harvard student deports himself and his dying Mom to seek alternative treatment in Mexico. He is not allowed to return, even with his DACA status, so he keeps the family camera rolling...

  • Dario Guerrero
    A Dream Deferred
  • Ryan Ruiz
  • Rigo Menes
    A Dream Deferred
  • Rocio Guerrero
    Key Cast
  • Rogelio Mora-Tagle
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, faith and spirituality, documentary
  • Runtime:
    59 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Mexico, United States
  • Language:
    English, Other, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • San Diego Latino Film Festival
    San Diego
    United States
    March 15, 2019
    North American Premiere
    Best Feature Documentary Nominee
  • Race and Power Film Festival
    Stanislaus, CA
    United States
    May 22, 2019
    NorCal Premiere
    Closing Night Feature
  • Johns Hopkins University Forums on Race in America
    Baltimore, MD
    United States
    September 25, 2019
    Baltimore Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Latin American Film Center's "Screening America: The Series"
    New York, New York
    United States
    February 24, 2020
    New York Premiere
    Closing Night Feature
  • Philadelphia Latino Film Festival
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    United States
    June 6, 2020
    Pennsylvania Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Blackstar Film Festival
    United States
    August 22, 2020
    Best Feature Documentary Honorable Mention
  • American Fringe 5
    November 15, 2020
    European Premiere
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • Cine Ahuachtli
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Dario Guerrero

Dario Guerrero, creator of the documentary ROCIO, is an undocumented Harvard graduate. His story first received national attention in September 2014 when he published an essay in the Washington Post titled "I told Harvard I was an undocumented immigrant. They gave me a full scholarship."

Following up on this story, a Telemundo news crew reached out to Dario and found him living in his grandmother's home, some 3,000 miles away from school in the crime-ridden, massive slums of Nezahualcoyotl just outside Mexico City. Dario's story again made national headlines, this time under the guise of "Harvard student took his dying mom to Mexico, now he's not allowed to leave." This is the subject matter of the present film. This is the story of ROCIO.

Dario also co-directed 2013's A Dream Deferred with college roommate Alex Boota, a documentary following several undocumented Harvard students as they apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Funded by the Harvard Law Documentary Studio, it was a Regional Finalist in the Student Academy Awards.

He is now documenting the effects of prayer and meditation on athletic performance.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I made this movie because I witnessed several miracles while shooting. As a fervent atheist, I of course did not register any of them until it was too late to ask the source.

First miracle: my mother sent the cancer into remission by juicing, something her doctors at UCLA said would “never” happen.

Second miracle: she regained sensation in her legs one day, right in front of the camera. Again, something we were told not to expect. Soon after, she was walking around the house with the
aid of a walker. It was worth it just to go to her appointments and see the lab coats’ eyes widen in secular astonishment.

Third miracle (a bit of numerology): I was born on February 9, 1993. It was a Tuesday. Rocio once told me Tuesday was the most cosmic day of the week.
She also said 11 was my lucky number, and on January 11, 2011, I got a call from an admissions officer at Harvard College informing me that I was a “likely candidate for admission.” It was one of the happiest days of my life. It was also a Tuesday.

Our old passports read that on October 21, 1995, Rocio and I entered the United States through the San Ysidro port of entry. My new passport reads that on the very same day nineteen years later, on October 21, 2014, I was admitted back into the country through the very same doors. I carried her ashes home.

It was a Tuesday.