#DancesWithFilms2018: DIWA to Compete in this Year’s Oscar-Qualifying

Jesus Figueroa

Short film takes a hard, realistic look at undocumented immigrants

“Diwa,” winner of the First Laurel Award of Chimaera Project’s 2018 “TO.GET.HER Program,” (written and directed by Aina Dumlao & Bru Muller), will screen at the 21st Annual Dances With Films at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, on June 9 at 5 p.m.

The narrative short film takes an unforgiving look at the real plight of immigrants victimized by violent crimes, and the obstacles they face, all told through the eyes of one female victim: Diwa, an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines who risked everything to come to America to help support her family back home.

Like countless others, Diwa is exploited and assaulted by her employer, then victimized a second time by a broken immigration system. Sadly, this is a true story many times over…

Star Aina Dumlao co- produced, co-wrote, co-directed and co-edited the film with her partner Bru Muller. 
Based on actual events from her family history, Aina said, “My uncle barely saw his own family for over thirty years, spending endless days laboring on cargo ships all over the world. And when his wife, my Aunt, was diagnosed with cancer and died six months later, he was out at sea, far from home, working to pay the mounting medical bills. He never even made it back to say goodbye…”
Dumlao and Bru Muller hope that the impact of “Diwa” will shine a light on how it feels to be a marginalized human being in today’s world.

This year’s final lineup will feature more than 200 titles, chosen from a record 2,200 submissions from all over the globe. The juried narrative competition section includes 16 features and more than three-dozen shorts. DWF also has a category for groundbreaking short and feature documentaries, provocative genre fare in the Midnight section, and the most exciting music videos and dance-themed films from the indie scene in the Downbeats section. The Fusion section brings together a multitude of additional features and shorts.

Notable Dances With Films alumni who first gained notice at the festival include Gina Rodriguez, Bryan Cranston, Jesse Eisenberg, and John Hawkes, among many others.

Tickets and passes will be available for sale May 18 at tclchinesetheatres.com/. Additional screening and ticket information can also be found at danceswithfilms.com.

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