Staten Island Documentary Gets Citywide Attention

A documentary about Staten Island students from immigrant families is reaching audiences across the city. NY1's Aaron Dickens filed the following report.

Gabriela Juarez-Aureoles says she has always felt welcome in her community because many of her classmates come from immigrant families like herself.

"I have many friends that come from different places. I learn more about them and how their life was, and I can show them how my life was, too," the Port Richmond resident said.

Juarez-Aureoles is one of several students from P.S. 20 in Port Richmond featured in a documentary called "Small Truths." They share their stories about what it's like to grow up in immigrant families.

The film debuted in 2014. Since then, it has been shown at schools and colleges across the city. 

"Small Truths" was created by Sarah Yuster, a longtime teaching artist on the North Shore, and filmmaker Michael McWeeney. Yuster says the film is significant during this election season.

"I want these kids' voices heard. Maybe little by little, there will be some kind of equalizer to all the anger and bile," Yuster said.

"We just want a lot of people to see it, to get the message. We are all the same. We are all equal," McWeeney said.

"Small Truths" was shown at a festival organized by the New York Women in Film and Television organization this week.  The nonprofit provides grants and resources for women filmmakers like Yuster.

"Sometimes, women are being portrayed as being pretty in front of the camera, but we can get behind the camera and tackle those issues that are important," said a spokesperson from New York Women in Film and Television.

Yuster says she plans to continue showing the film in schools and hopes teachers use it in the classroom.

"I think that there are others who may not have as much experience working with kids who don't speak English initially, and I think that this will help them," she said.

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