Director, Documentary Film Program
Last week, Claudio Rojas, one of the main subjects in Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera’s documentary The Infiltrators, was detained by ICE. In the film, Claudio acted as the inside source about conditions in a for-profit detention center in Florida where he had been detained for overstaying his visa in 2012. The Infiltrators had just premiered to great acclaim at Sundance Film Festival, winning the NEXT Innovator and Audience Awards, and was about to be screened at the Miami Film Festival with Claudio in attendance. Instead, during his annual visa check-in, and with a visa application already in progress, Claudio was arrested.
He currently sits in the Krome Detention Center in South Miami-Dade facing the threat of imminent deportation.
True democracy and a healthy open society require a free press, a robust independent media, and a justice system held to account. Through the nonfiction filmmaking that Sundance Institute and others support we also depend on an engaged public willing to speak truth to power.
We call attention to Claudio Rojas’ arrest and voice our concern at any act which can be perceived as intimidation toward either artist or subject. Only when we can speak freely, without fear of retaliation or abuse of due process, can we trust in the basic tenets of a true democracy and gain crucial perspectives that illuminate the policies and actions that shape our society.