Episode 63: The Infiltrators with Alex Rivera

Welcome to our third virtual episode How Do You Like it So Far? fans!  We are shocked we even remembered that since who even knows what day it is.  Satur-Thurs-Wednesday? That sounds about right. Firstly, we hope you are all staying inside and safe during such uncertain times.  Secondly, we’ve got a new episode for you all! This week, Henry and Colin welcome Alex Rivera, Director of Sleep Dealer and The Infiltrators, a hybrid-documentary that blends together traditional documentary elements with scripted reenactmentsHe discusses how this unusual documentary is a political heist film about activists who orchestrate being arrested by border patrol to get inside the Broward Detention Facility to help get people out who are facing imminent deportation.  Why is it a heist, you may wonder? Well, because the audience consistently wonders if the team will be able to pull off their scheme! The catch? The activists are undocumented immigrants themselves who risk deportation! In the film, the activists use political tactics inside the detention center to stop deportations.  Rivera uses two timelines that crosscut between the reenactments and original source material since they could not film inside the detention center. Rivera settled on this method since he felt like it gave the film a more “urgent” feeling. He also dives deep into the genesis of the film and “how stateless people create political power.”  Through The Infiltrators, he explores what happens when people put political pressure from the bottom up and as these individuals choose to disrupt history rather than line up with it.  Listen in as Rivera discusses his own origin story and how his work in border and immigration issues ranged from experimental and traditional documentaries, to traditional shorts and features to music videos and mockumentaries.  He also discusses his other works, specifically Sleep Dealer, and some thoughtful insights and suggestions for future filmmakers.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Links to Alex Rivera’s Work:
Trailer for The Infiltrators
Trailer for Sleep Dealer
Alex Rivera’s Music Videos

Video of Mohammad (DreamACTivists) — Featured in The Infiltrators

Documentaries and Films Mentioned in this Episode:
Errol Morris’ Wormwood
American Animals

Pete Seeger – folk musician and activist
We Shall Overcome

2010 – Four undocumented youths were arrested in John McCain’s office

Obama’s policies on immigration
Record amount of deportations
Deportations have decreased under Trump
People in immigration detention centers are up

Obama was shining a light on immigration, but there was also leverage

Trump’s Muslim Ban took one day

Took Obama Four Years to Enact DACA

Sundance Documentary Edit Lab

Carol Dysinger – NYU Professor

Samuel Fuller — Shock Corridor

The Infiltrators optioned by Blumhouse

Filmmakers mentioned in this podcast:
Marlon Riggs
Lourdes Portillo
Guillermo Gomez Pena
Craig Baldwin
Jordan Peele
Barry Jenkins
Ava DuVernay
Ryan Coogler

Set Hernandez RongkilyoUndocumented Filmmakers Collective

By Any Media Necessary
Two co-authors – Arely M. Zimmerman and Liana Gamber-Thompson

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!

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