Almost everyone you will ever talk to has a strong opinion about illegal immigration. Whether they're for or against it, everyone is biased toward one side or another. Married documentary filmmaker duo Jacob and Jennifer Tapia, of Handrawn Pictures LLC, have created a documentary that isn't.
Citizens* is not pro or anti immigration, and does not have any sort of bias toward any nationality, culture, or political stance.
"The film shows the benefits of both sides [of the immigration debate], how [immigration] works in some areas, and how it's causing problems in others," Jacob Tapia said. "The film is about what's happening and how it affects those who experience it daily. The message is that we as humans need to work together and take care of each other."The filmmakers have spent the last four years interviewing undocumented immigrants, border enforcement officers, experts in the subject, and even a guy who successfully smuggled people over the border for five years. "The people I interviewed honored me by sharing their experience," Tapia said. "Some of the things they went through are very personal, and I feel like it's my responsibility to make sure the film is completed and shown to the public." No, the asterisk next to the title of the film is not a typo. It's meant to serve as a footnote, a reminder that even people who aren't technically citizens still act the same way as people who are. "A lot of the undocumented immigrants behave like normal citizens, pay taxes, have children, own homes and businesses," Jacob Tapia said. "They're just like everybody else, but they're technically not citizens. There's more to the story than we see." Born and raised in San Diego, Tapia had always known a lot of immigrants, and was surprised when he realized what a heavily-debated national issue the topic is. "As a little kid you ask why questions all the time, like 'why is the sky blue', and as an adult you still have these questions, but you have a tendency to shut them down," Tapia said about his and Jennifer's inspiration for the film. "My why question was, why do people from Mexico come to America, why don't people want them here, and why is it such a big issue?" Unfortunately, immigration is a huge issue, and it seems almost impossible to have an unbiased conversation about it, let alone an entire film. "I asked questions that were more factual, that didn't rile people up as much," Tapia said. "I went into each interview telling the subject that my goal was to provide a totally unbiased story, politically and nationally." Citizens* is scheduled to be finished by the end of April 2014. They need some financial assistance in putting the final touches on it, so click here if you'd like to help out and see your name in the credits. You can check out the Citizens* trailer below: