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Immigration Theme Gets Strong Role in Austin Film Festival

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival. 

Although it's featured through different film genres, the topic of immigration has a solid presence in the lineup of this year's Austin Film Festival. 

"The Maid's Room" is Michael Walker's latest narrative film about a young illegal immigrant from Colombia. She's hired by a wealthy family to work as a maid at their weekend house in The Hamptons. Walker started to draft this psychological thriller 20 years ago, but halfway through the project, the director decided to give  immigration a focus.

"About 10 years ago, when I became more interested in immigration themes, it became more of a ghost story," says the filmmaker. "But over the years, it became about other things…there's also a clear message about humanity in people."

Through a different genre and story but using the same background theme, Ted Roach's new documentary "120 Days" tracks the issue of immigration. The film follows one family of undocumented immigrants  who has been living and working in the United States illegally for over 12 years. It documents the family's struggle to stay in the country.

The observational, character-based documentary captures an intimate look at Miguel Cortez's struggle with American immigration laws over 120 days.

"A lot can be learned from Miguel and his family. Not only about their plight, but also about the same decisions that millions of immigrants face in America everyday," Roach said. "It's a huge issue. It's something that we need to talk about." 

Besides immigration, other big issues including obesity, religion and sex trafficking have been highlighted over the course of the 20th edition of the Austin Film Festival.

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