A PLACE TO BREATHE explores the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of immigrant and refugee healthcare practitioners and patients. This 86-minute documentary intertwines the personal journeys of those who are transcending their own obstacles by healing others. Combining cinema vérité and animation, the film highlights the creative strategies by which immigrant communities in the U.S. survive and thrive. Please watch and share the trailer! See below for full synopsis.
Join us for an in-person screening on June 27th at 7:00pm at The New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA in honor of World Refugee Week! The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and representative from Street Level Health Project. Thanks to Berkeley FILM Foundation for hosting.
The film is now available for home streaming on-demand via Good Docs! See below for their educational screening opportunities.
We are honored that the Moving Worlds program has included A PLACE TO BREATHE among its featured films for Refugee Week, a U.K.-wide event celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees from June 20-26, 2022. For more information, visit https://movingworlds.info/a-place-to-breathe. If you happen to be based in the U.K., please consider screening the film in collaboration with their important initiative.
Good Docs also features the film's Director/Producer Michelle Grace Steinberg as part of their Good Talks platform, where you can request her as a speaker on the film and her work as an integrative health practitioner in immigrant communities, alongside with the film's participants speaking on their personal experiences. Following an A PLACE TO BREATHE screening as part of the Trauma Research Foundation's film festival, Michelle recently joined the film's Rodrigue Kalambayi in a conversation with renowned author and physician Bessel van der Kolk and the foundation's co-founder Licia Sky.
Rodrigue is a newly arrived refugee from war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (via Uganda), who, along with his mother and six siblings, is struggling to adapt to life in Lowell, Massachusetts. Training to become a community health worker at the local clinic, he ultimately aspires to be a social worker to help his community heal from trauma. Socheat, a Cambodian immigrant, seeks tools to combat the stress of supporting her aging parents, teenage daughter, and disabled brother on a manicurist’s salary. The entire family experiences the benefits of meditation classes and culturally tailored wellness approaches at the health center. Sue, a nurse to both families, examines the continued impact of her own traumatic experiences, thriving in the U.S. after surviving the genocide in Cambodia and now supporting others to do the same.
Across the country in Oakland, California, Edgar and Yania, a young couple from Mexico and Uruguay, provide healing to their community through outreach to day laborers and Spanish-language yoga classes. Their aspirations to become a social worker and a nurse are threatened by possible deportation due to their tenuous immigration status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). At the same health clinic, Norma, a Guatemalan immigrant, provides interpretation into her community’s indigenous Mayan language, while she watches new arrivals from her homeland fight for asylum and safety.
Common ground and chance connection join these unique stories as the film humanizes those who have migrated here, sharing their wisdom and perspectives that enrich and strengthen our communities. This is more critical than ever with the devastating effects that COVID-19 is having on communities of color and immigrant populations. A PLACE TO BREATHE moves audiences to envision new understandings of wellness for all.
A PLACE TO BREATHE premiered at San Francisco DocFest in September 2020 and did a two-week run at the Roxie Theater SF (virtually) in October 2020. The film won the Interfaith Documentary Award at the 2020 St. Louis International Film Festival and the Social Justice Award at the Queen City Film Festival. It also screened at Alexander Valley Film Festival and American Public Health Association Film Festival, as well as two weeks of virtual streaming via the Wexner Center for the Arts in January 2021.
The World Health Organization (WHO) screened A PLACE TO BREATHE in Turkey in April 2021 for their Leave No One Behind Film Days event on refugee and migrant health. Check out the WHO panel discussion and contact us to learn how you can utilize the film to spark discussions in your community!
Press: Check out this interview about the film via Wexner Center for the Arts and the reviews in Educational Media Reviews Online, Eat Drink Films, and Oaklandside. You can also listen to these recent radio interviews with the film's director/producer Michelle Grace Steinberg on KPFA's Letters and Politics and KSRO Sonoma County News.
For more details on the clinics featured in the project see:
To donate, please visit our fiscal sponsor:
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