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The Time of the Fireflies

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Catalogue Number:  TVP111
Producer:  Video Project, Inc.
Producers:  Morales, Matteo Robert; Dalton, Mattis Appelqvist
Directors:  Morales, Matteo Robert
Producing Agencies:  Lighthouse Lab
Subject:  American History, Canadian World Studies, Documentary, Economics, Guidance, Politics, Social Sciences, Sociology
Language:  Spanish
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  United States
Copyright Year:  2021
Running Time:  52:00

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Migration is frequently a multi-generational experience for families; not an individual choice or the particular economic decision of a single family, but rather a collective practice, repeated again and again by both individuals and communities. The Time of the Fireflies portrays this interconnected history through the narrative of Miguel and his family, questioning long-held misconceptions about immigration. 

The protagonists have lived their lives on both sides of the border, and their stories bear witness to the everyday ties that bind the United States and Mexico, as well as to the political and economic discords that keep them apart. At 16, Miguel left Mexico to start a new life in New York City. Years later while opening a package from his mother, he discovers photographs that throw him back to his childhood in rural Mexico — a time when living in the US had been just a dream. Fueling Miguel's ambitions and altruism, these memories are the same ones keeping him trapped in the past. Sharing his tale of resilience and determination, including his harrowing border crossing as a teenager, he relates his longing for who and what he left behind at a turning point in his life.

Growing up, Miguel and his sister were primarily raised by their grandparents in Mexico as both of their parents were working in the US to build a future for their family. With rare phone calls serving as their primary source of contact, their parents were like strangers to them until he was 12. Then just four years later, Miguel left for the US when he was 16 in pursuit of a dream and has not returned since. Far from the prosperous picture painted of life in the US, Miguel finds himself working nearly 80 hour weeks and experiencing profound isolation, while struggling to seek out the education he thought he'd find.  

Despite the tribulations and loneliness he experiences in New York City, and the distances that separate him from his home, Miguel remains committed to helping his family while also forging his own way forward. In The Time of the Fireflies, a family attempts to come to terms with their past, their sacrifices, and the distance that has defined their relationships.

Program is in Spanish with English subtitles.

Streaming rights not available for Post Secondary institutions.



Contra el Silencio Todas las Voces

New Orleans Film Festival,
Docs Without Borders Film Festival, Excellence
SF International Film Festival, Jury Award Winner, Best Documentary Feature
LACA Film Festival, Best Documentary Cinematography
Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival
Docs Without Borders Film Festival
SFFILM Festival
SF Docfest
New Orleans Film Festival
LACA Film Festival
NYC Indie
Big Sky Film Festival
Austin Film Festival
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival

"A poignant depiction of the sacrifice many are forced to make in order to support their families. It's a stunningly cinematic and beautiful film about the migration, reflection, and reconnection of one family that skirts an overtly political and formulaic narrative in favor of illuminating all the magic that happens in the space, silence and stillness in between movements. The filmmakers take such great care."— SFFILM Jury

"Honest about where his journey has taken him, Miguel candidly shares his struggles and relates his longing for who and what he left behind. A strong visual flair complements and echoes Miguel's state of mind in this moving tale of resilience and determination."— SFFILM

"One of the more socially concrete and intriguing films"— World Socialist Web Site

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