Devolver Digital Films to Release Exile Nation: The Plastic People Presented by Edward James Olmos
Directed By Charles Shaw
Digital VOD Release on December 16, 2014
Urgent Documentary Reveals Massive Human Rights Violations Plaguing Mexican American Immigrants
LOS ANGELES, CA – Devolver Digital Films is proud to announce the digital VOD release of the important new documentary, Exile Nation: The Plastic People, presented by Edward James Olmos who also narrates the film. Written, photographed, and directed by Charles Shaw, the powerful film follows U.S. deportees, struggling to survive in Tijuana, living in cardboard shacks and sewer pipes, in an ever-expanding underworld of exiles. The film’s digital VOD release is scheduled for December 16, 2014 via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, PlayStation, Xbox, VUDU, Vimeo on Demand, VHX, Gumroad, Google Play, and others. For additional information, please visit http://exilenation.org/the-plastic-people.
“Nearly 400 people are deported to Tijuana every day and nearly 1,000 people, without Mexican families or citizenship, are living in that city’s sewers because they have nowhere else to go,” says Charles Shaw, director of The Plastic People, “Most are hunted down relentlessly by the police or have become fodder for the cartels… struggling to survive.
Exile Nation: The Plastic People (Documentary, 2014, 75 min.) – Narrated by Edward James Olmos, The Plastic People reveals how the exploitative policies of a failed war on drugs and immigration added Tijuana’s “Zona Norte” to the growing international crisis of nationless refugees and deportees. Shot on location in Tijuana, the film follows the lives of three men who have found themselves stuck in an impossible situation as drug addicts, criminals, deportees, and the people they have become under these extraordinary conditions:
• Chris Bava, a photographer fighting his own addictions, recorded the horrors of the situation in hauntingly beautiful photographs that adorn the film, while offering the help he could to deportees.
• Javier Godinez Mondragon, a Mexican American deportee who immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a young boy, deported at age 30 for drug possession.
• Jonathan Espinoza, a newly married young deportee who spent his entire life in the U.S after immigrating at age 5, deported after a fight with a former classmate.
The 9/11 attacks began a decade-long period of anti-immigrant policies in the United States. As a consequence, the U.S. began the mass-deportation of an estimated 4 to 6 million “non-citizens.” Those hit hardest by these new policies were Latinos, primarily Mexicans, who make up 97% of those deported, returned to a country with a devastated economy in the midst of a cartel war.
Thrown away by both the U.S. and Mexico, the “plastic people” struggle to survive in hellish limbo along the border, separated from everyone and everything they know. They had families and contributed to their communities in the States, yet still had not achieved citizenship. Many were deported, without any hope of returning, their families trapped on the other side of the border. Children were taken from parents, leaving tens of thousands as wards of the state. The Plastic People uncovers the heartbreaking story of these displaced humans as they search for meaning, purpose, and, ultimately, redemption.
A percentage of the film’s proceeds are being donated to:
Director: Charles Shaw
Executive Producers: Edward James Olmos, Tiffany Naiman
Producers: Chris Bava, Ronnie Pontiac, Charles Shaw, Tamra Spivey, DJ Turner
Cinematography: Charles Shaw, Jorge Nieto, Javier Godinez Mondragon
Still Photography: Chris Bava
Narrator: Edward James Olmos
Music: Random Rab, Tijuana Cartel, Lights Out Asia
Also produced by Lucidity Productions and Filament Features.
Charles Shaw – Director, Writer, Cinematographer & Producer – Director Charles Shaw is an award-winning journalist, editor, author of the critically-acclaimed Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality (2012), and director of the documentary films The Exile Nation Project: An Oral History of the War on Drugs & The American Criminal Justice System (2011), Visurreality (2013), and Exile Nation: The Plastic People (2014). His work has appeared in Alternet, The Guardian, Huffington Post, The New York Times, and openDemocracy. He is currently directing and executive producing The Phoenix Project, a documentary series on trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Edward James Olmos, Narrator, Executive Producer - Edward James Olmos is a Mexican American actor, director, producer, and social activist. Among his most memorable roles are William Adama in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, Lt. Martin Castillo in Miami Vice, teacher Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, patriarch Abraham Quintanilla in the film Selena, Detective Gaff in Blade Runner, and narrator El Pachuco in both the stage and film versions of Zoot Suit. In 1988, Olmos was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the film Stand and Deliver.
He has also been a longtime pioneer for more diversified roles and images of Hispanics in the U.S. media. To encourage and support other Latinos, he co-founded the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (1996), the Latino Book and Family Festival (1997), and Latino Public Broadcasting (1998). He also was the driving force behind the Smithsonian Institution-backed multimedia project Americanos: Latino Life in the U.S.
For his efforts, which continue to this day, Olmos was inducted into the Latino Walk of Fame in 2001. That same year, he spent 20 days in jail for protesting the U.S. Navy’s practice bombings on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. He was arrested along with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and nearly 180 others during the protest.
Tiffany Naiman, Executive Producer – Tiffany Naiman is an award winning documentary producer and musicologist. Her current projects include: Bight of the Twin (2015) directed by Hazel Hill McCarthy, III in which the cameras follow cultural engineer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge on a journey to the heart of the Vodun religion in Benin, Africa. The Glamour & The Squalor (2015) directed by Mark Evans, which examines the life of ‘90s Seattle DJ Marco Collins and his hand in why the world loves bands like Garbage, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Weezer, Beck, and Moby while telling a more intimate story of his long battle with addiction. Past projects include Viva Cuba Libre: Rap is War (2013), which follows the revolutionary Cuban hip-hop artists Los Aldeanos and the Cruz brothers, and The Mechanical Bride (2012), a provocative and eye-opening documentary that journeys from the outer limits of science fiction to the state of the art in artificial companions. Naiman is also in development with the narrative feature film Girl Walking Backwards based on the novel by Bett Williams. Formerly, Naiman was the Director of Marketing and Publicity at First Look Studios where she worked on the campaigns for the documentaries Emmanuel’s Gift, The Mayor of the Sunset Strip, and Fellini: I’m a Born Liar, the Oscar-nominated Elling, and such features films as The Proposition, Wassup Rockers, Chrystal, Dirty Love and Miranda.
Devolver Digital – Based in Austin, Texas, Devolver Digital distributes independent video games and guides indie filmmakers through digital distribution and film promotion. Devolver Digital’s outspoken passion for independent games, developers, and fans has earned the company no minor measure of game industry notoriety. With its expansion into film, which was announced at South by Southwest 2013, the company applies that same fiercely creative devotion and digital content expertise to support and celebrate indie filmmakers and projects. Co-Founder and Partner Mike Wilson says his own experience as a filmmaker seeking distribution led him and his partners to expand Devolver Digital into film. That experience has guided the company’s focus on “hand-crafted” strategic partnership and personal attention in distributing the titles on the label to a full range of digital and cable VOD platforms.
For more information, photos, a screener, or to schedule an interview, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201.
“This film is as important to American awareness as Bowling For Columbine, Into The Abyss, or Super Size Me. – Filmmaking Review
“Charles Shaw’s The Plastic People is a loud and clear rallying cry for immigration reform that reveals the everyday suffering behind the statistics. As Charles follows photographer Chris Bava into Tijuana’s notorious “Zona Norte,” it becomes immediately clear that the situation on the border is nothing less than a human rights crisis.” – Brian Duffy, openDemocracy
“Invisible to many locals, ignored by most tourists, and routinely abused by police, the “plastic people” are largely made up of deported immigrants who were deposited in Tijuana, regardless of their country of origin, and resorted to living in the vast gutter plagued by raw sewage, toxic chemicals, discarded needles, disease, and dangerous flash flooding… Exile Nation: The Plastic People offers a harrowing look at the faces and stories of the Tijuana River canal.” – Chad Deal, San Diego Reader
“Exile Nation is a close-up look at a group of people without passports who have slipped through the cracks of not just one system but two…. emotionally powerful and provocative.” – Tanja M. Laden, LA Weekly