What The Pier Gave Us

Many immigrants spend their evenings fishing on an undisclosed pier in New York City. In What the Pier Gave Us, a Mexican fisherman’s ordinary day becomes a metaphor for the brutal beauty of the immigration experience in the US.

  • Luna X Moya
    The Rights of Butterflies
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Lo Que Nos Dio El Muelle
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • BAMcinemaFEST
    New York
    United States
    June 23, 2021
    New York Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Luna X Moya

I am the great ant, the immigrant.

Luna X Moya is a documentary Director and Editor whose work screened at A+E Networks, MoMA, The Shed, BAMcinemaFest, and AFI SilverDocs. Her filmmaking was featured on Variety Magazine and The Washington Post, along with having support from Sundance Institute and Catapult Film Fund. Luna is a formerly undocumented, queer, and chronically ill filmmaker.

Editor for a short documentary of Shirley Chisholm (History Channel), a short about Beatriz Gonzalez (The Shed), and lead the editor for a Spike Lee Tribute (MoMA.)

Second directorial film “What The Pier Gave Us” started off as short (BAMCinemaFEST 2021) and is now being made into a feature (to be released.) Debut directorial film “The Rights of Butterflies” (AFI Docs 2012) launched with a screening tour to successfully help pass the DREAM act in Maryland.

Fellow at the Sundance Art of Editing Fellowship, Sundance Accessible Futures Intensive, Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship- Diversity in the Edit Room, and the Associate Artist-in-Residence at ACA by Natalia Almada.

Graduate from NYU in Film & TV production. After transferring from a community college in Maryland, she was awarded a full ride scholarship bestowed to only two students in the entire Tisch Arts Department.

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Director Statement

WHAT THE PIER GAVE US is a poetic and experimental film set in an undisclosed pier in New York City, a city with a longstanding history of immigration. NYC also has the highest undocumented immigrant population, and is the top city in the U.S. with the wealthiest individuals. The pier's visitors are part of these working class immigrants. They throw their fishing lines into the water and wait for a catch. Their view is the Hudson river and the many boats that pass by the pier to travel back and forth with cargo. Other views from the pier are the Manhattan skyline and it’s ever evolving landscape of tall skyscrapers. At the pier, there is stillness. This is a space for people in my undocumented community to get a chance to rest after a long week of work, and breath in and out while looking out to the sea.

I want to show this subtle but stark contrast of wealth in our society and show that while there is movement of goods with the boats and the seagulls that hover and fly above the pier, there is still a community of people that are not afforded that same liberty. In "What The Pier Gave Us" audiences are let into the the emotional state of my film's undocumented immigrant narrator.

The identity of my narrator is concealed. Audiences will not be able to single out who in my film is the person narrating it. Making films about the undocumented community means there is a risk in exposing a person's identity and having them be susceptible to deportation. Sometimes they are filmed in a silhouette interview style to protect their identity or filmmakers move forward with the calculated risk of exposing their undocumented protagonist’s identity. Rather than doing either of those two things, I explore other ways to sense my protagonist’s story. Seagulls, the pier, the sea, and bait, are all visual film symbols I use to bring forth a sensorial migrant experience. I’m interested in expanding new languages in undocumented cinema using limitations associated with my identity and poetry.