Mabel Valdiviezo moved to the United States from war-torn Peru and didn’t look back for 16 years. As an illegal immigrant in a foreign country she faced loneliness, fear, cancer and isolation. As a Peruvian who left her family in times of hardship, she felt remorse, regret and confusion.
The life of Mabel has been one of inspiration and undying determination to survive against the odds.
In 2009 she began to record the autobiographical documentary, Prodigal Daughter. She knew her story was one to tell and one that needed to be heard by all audiences, as we are all products of migration and hardship.
That same year she obtained her green card allowing her to live in the United States legally, and simultaneously giving her the ability to travel to her original home, Lima, Peru. Since then she has been actively making connections, seeking funding, speaking to immigration-focused and social inclusion organizations and concluding her documentary.
This week, Mabel launched her Kickstarter page and is asking $30,000 in order to:
“1) Shoot the final scenes of the film and have the freedom to create artistic metaphors and re-enactments – about 1 week; 2) Employ a seasoned editor to go from assembly edit to rough cut and beginning of fine cut – about 3 months; 3) Preliminary music from amazing Peruvian musician Riber Oré; 4) Preliminary graphics.”
(Photo: Tupac Saavedra)
In her career so far as a filmmaker, she has won numerous awards including the Women in Film Emerging Filmmaker Award. Her film Soledad Is Gone Forever was featured at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner and at LALIFF.
Mabel produced a documentary short entitled, Carlos Baron, Poeta Pan, for Spark which is a KQED arts show. Her script for Soledad’s Awaking was a finalist at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. And finally her project in the making Prodigal Daughter, participated in the NALIP Latino Media Market 2012 and in the NALIP Latino Producers Academy 2013 (of which she is a recipient of the 2013 NALIP Artist Mentorship Grant).
This project has become more than a documentary for Mabel as it also forms a piece of art that will “spark dialogue about immigration, mental health and well-being across diverse communities in the U.S.”
She told Living in Peru she hopes the film will help people in situations similar to hers. “People will be able to connect and feel able to come out about who they are. We are not able to speak out even to friends because we are always in fear.” Mabel refers to the all-encompassing fear of deportation and isolation.
(Photo: Claudia Alva)
“I couldn’t be more happy with how things are starting to take place,” said Mabel regarding the progress of the documentary.
The film has a lot of momentum behind it. She has been receiving calls from fans, interested collaborators and genuinely grateful people.
This June she was asked to speak at the 10th Summer Institute on Migration and Health at UC Berkeley. There she presented her work-in-progress version of the film where they emphasized the impact the film will have with the Latin immigration community.
“I want this to become a movement,” says Mabel, looking forward.
She plans to work with production collaborators to bring the film to communities who need it most; she wants to travel to remote corners of Peru with the film where resources are scarce and help those experiencing loss and isolation.
“In the film I want to show transformation from dis-empowerment, making the leap to a person, a Latina, who can succeed in the United States and inspire other Latinos and Peruvians and Mexicans and those from all over the World,” says Mabel.
“There’s a need for more diversity. And when they can see someone has done it they can see a path.”
Prodigal Daughter New Trailer:
(YouTube: Prodigal Daughter New Trailer)
Watch and listen below to Peruvian artist Riber Ore, the musician behind the Prodigal Daughter’s soundtrack:
(YouTube: RIBER ORE- GUITARRA EN PERU- CLASICA, ANDINA. EXTRAORDINARIO!)
Article dedicated to Bob Henry.