Festival de Cine Global Dominicano
Conversation with Ellin Jimmerson…

The title, “second cooler,” refers to a comment made by a US official who said that so many illegals die in the desert trying to get into the United States, that they will soon need another cooler in the morgue for their bodies. At least 7,000 migrants have died in the last decade crossing the huge Sonoran desert, which is 311,000 square kilometers and covers large part of Arizona, California and New Mexico.  

Conversation with Ellin Jimmerson…

(Santo Domingo – Nov. 15)– Ellin Jimmerson wrote, directed and produced La segunda nevera, showing at the Dominican Global Film Festival (FCGD).

The title, “second cooler,” refers to a comment made by a US official who said that so many illegals die in the desert trying to get into the United States, that they will soon need another cooler in the morgue for their bodies. At least 7,000 migrants have died in the last decade crossing the huge Sonoran desert, which is 311,000 square kilometers and covers large part of Arizona, California and New Mexico.  

“That is the number we know of – a body totally evaporates within days in the heat of the Sonoran desert,” explained Ms. Jimmerson. Many die of thirst when they are abandoned by the coyotes the migrants pay to cross them. Female migrants often suffer horrible abuses at the hands of their smugglers: they are robbed, sexually assaulted or simply abandoned in the desert.

Who Benefits from Illegal Immigration?

“I made this film to call attention to the deaths of migrants in the desert and to highlight and change public policy. The US’s immigration policy is essentially a dual legal entry system – the poor don’t get in legally and others do.”

She explained that the for-profit prison system in the US and the companies benefitting from the militarization of the US-Mexico border are those who profit from this unfair dual entry system. She also explained the so-called Guest Worker Program in the US wherein the guest workers’ short-term visas are paid by the companies that employ them but who end up exploiting them and paying them less than minimum wage.

“They are actually equivalent to indentured servants. Many people, including the migrants, don’t understand how exploitative the guest worker program is. The entire US immigration policy is unethical and extremely unfair.”

Rosa Maria Toussant-Ortiz worked as the producer on the film. Ms. Toussant-Ortiz, born in the Dominican Republic, has lived in Alabama since 1985 and met Jimmerson at a meeting in Huntsville, Alabama in which they were discussing the growing crisis among immigrants in the US.

Jimmerson made the film with no funding from anyone. “Everyone worked for free and donated their time and technical support.”

Once much of her film was made, Jimmerson contacted Martin Sheen and asked if he would narrate it. Much to her surprised, he called back personally and said he wanted to be involved, pro bono. She took her film out to Los Angeles and they worked on the narration.

The Second Cooler opened in Chicago in March 2013 where it won Best Feature Documentary. It opened at the FCGD in Santo Domingo on Friday November 15, 2013.

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