The documentary film “Dreamers”, directed by Stephanie Barbey and Luc Peter, accompanies Carlos and his family, who come from Mexico and immigrated illegally to the USA, and is being released today in selected German cinemas on the NONFY Documentaries film label. Synopsis At the age of 9, he came to Chicago illegally from Mexico with…
At the age of 9, Carlos came to Chicago illegally with his Mexican family. He had the right to stay in the USA until he was 17. His status changed when he turned 18. The director couple Stephanie Barbey & Luc Peter accompanied Carlos and his family for more than two years and through them experienced what it means to live in the USA without legal status.
“Dreamers” is the name given to young people without US identity papers who were brought to the USA by their parents as children, usually across the border to Mexico. It is estimated that more than two million “Dreamers“ in the USA lead a life in the shadows of society. They are illegal, “undocumented”. Carlos is one of them.
In the eyes of the law, he has been in the USA illegally since his 18th birthday. The American dream turns into a nightmare. The slightest mistake can lead to his deportation.
The black and white cinematography by Nikolai von Graevenitz (German Camera Award 2022) was specially chosen to highlight these contrasts and contradictions and emphasize what it means to live in the shadow of the US legal system. They make us forget the glittering world of the American dream and convey hope for a better future, despite the protagonists’ harsh living conditions.
Based on a very personal story, the film addresses themes of more universal significance. This narrative is reinforced by the music of Louis Jucker (Swiss Music Awards 2021). He immerses us in powerful emotions through a poetic composition of music and images.
About the filmmakers Stéphanie Barbey and Luc Peter
Stéphanie Barbey was born in Geneva (Switzerland) in 1972. She holds an MA from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. She studied documentary film at the Ateliers Varan in Paris. She has been working as a documentary filmmaker at Intermezzo Films since 2006. For “Dreamers” she was both writer and director.
Luc Peter, born in 1963, studied political science at the University of Geneva (BA 1986 and MA 1989), followed by film studies at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art in Lausanne (1994). He has directed numerous documentaries and TV documentaries.
He has been a producer at Intermezzo Films since 2001. He also worked on “Dreamers” as both writer and director.
Original title: Dreamers
Directors: Stéphanie Barbey, Luc Peter
Cinematography: Nikolaï von Graevenitz
Editing: Florent Mangeot, Aurique Delannoy
Sound: Masaki Hatsui, Janis Grossmann
Music: Louis Jucker
Production companies: Intermezzo Films, in Co-Produktion mit Dirk Manthey Film, RTS Radio Télévision Suisse, SWR/ARTE
Producer: Luc Peter, Katia Monla
Co-Producer: Dirk Manthey
Year of production: 2023
Countries: Switzerland, Germany
Filming location: Chicago (USA)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: German, English, French
Lenght: 84 Min.
Rating: FSK 12
Aspect ratio / resolution: 16:9 / 1998×1080 (letterboxed 2,0:1)
DCP / projection mp4: DCI 2K F-200 5.1 Surround / 1080p24
Sound: 5.1. Surround
Visions du Réel, Nyon, Schweiz
Film label: NONFY Documentaries
Theatrical start in Germany: February 8, 2024
Interview with the filmmakers
“Why did you choose Carlos as the main character?”
“Carlos has something unique and emblematic about him. There is something about him that touches us deeply: a combination of courage and resignation. He is an “ordinary hero” who never gives up despite all the difficulties.”
“How did you meet Carlos?”
“Dreamers” is our third documentary feature film. We met him many years ago during the shooting of our second film “Broken Land”, which is about the US-Mexican border. Through the intimate portrayal of Carlos, “Dreamers” gets to the heart of the issues surrounding US immigration, namely what it means to be an undocumented young person in the US. We believe that the power of cinema lies not in explanations and numbers, but in feelings and empathy. In this individual story and life, we can feel the magnitude of today’s immigration tragedy.”
“Where is the movie set?”
“Carlos and his family’s everyday life takes place in Chicago, a city that strives for a tolerant policy towards undocumented people, but is still the scene of violence, racism and some of the greatest inequalities in the country.”
“Can you tell us more about your visual and musical choices?”
The black and white camerawork by Nikolaï von Graevenitz was specifically chosen to highlight these contrasts and contradictions and to emphasize what it means to live in the shadow of the US legal system. Starting from a very personal story, the film addresses issues on a more universal level. This narrative is reinforced by the music of Louis Jucker. He immerses us in strong emotions through poetic music to visual compositions.
About Intermezzo Films
Founded in 1993, Intermezzo Films produces fiction and documentary films in a spirit of freedom and artistic rigor. The company supports ambitious projects and rethinks narrative forms in order to promote innovative and creative films. Intermezzo Films sees itself as an independent production company, close to the directors and the films it produces.
With over 60 films, Intermezzo Films is today one of the most important production companies in French-speaking Switzerland. The films have been made in international co-productions, mainly with France or Germany, as well as with a well-developed network of European television channels and have received awards at many prestigious festivals (Sundance, IDFA, IFFR, ACID Cannes, Visions du Réel, Venice Film Festival). Today, the company is managed by producers Luc Peter and Katia Monla.
About the co-producer Dirk Manthey
Dirk Manthey Film (DMF) was founded in 2000 by Dirk Manthey and is based in Hamburg, Germany. Since then, DMF has produced a variety of films, both feature films and documentaries. Since its inception, DMF has focused on international co-productions, both in Europe and Latin America, with which a strong network has been built, allowing DMF to develop an understanding of many cultural and industry specificities. In addition to its activities as a production company, “Dirk Manthey Film / Dirk Manthey” has also taken on the executive production and post-production supervision of big budget feature films and documentaries in recent years.
The company focuses on the development and production of national and international documentaries that have both social and artistic relevance. Its aim is to tell stories that touch the audience on a deeper level and reach beyond the screen. The strong presence of the films he has developed and produced at renowned German and international film festivals and their great resonance are proof of the great demand for films with a strong voice and attitude of their own.