Click here to listen to the interview.
Kevin Casanova Abrams’ MARISOL centers on an honors high-school senior in a Texas border town with dreams of attending college whose life is upended when she discovers that she is undocumented, having been brought to the United States when she was 10 months old. The first thing I asked the director when we spoke by Zoom on September 11, 2023, was how he wanted his film to be different from other stories about the vulnerability of undocumented people in this country. His choices were deliberate and make the story all the more poignant, and the situation all the more infuriating, as it depicts a system that robs people of their basic human rights.
We went on to talk about why despite a history of making documentaries, he wanted to tell this story as a narrative feature; getting his cinematographer of choice, Andre Lascaris; and how Esmeralda Camargo, who plays Marisol, boldly hacked her way into the casting process and won the role.
We finished up with how he avoided the obvious tropes in presenting the villain of the piece, his (cinematic) political awakening; taking locations as he found them; and the polarization of the immigration issue (among others); and the burden of his middle name.
MARISOL stars Esmeralda Camargo, with Liana Mendoza, Max Pelayo, Mia King, Abigail Achiri, Paul Diaz, David DeLao, and Theo Taplitz as the agent of Marisol’s troubles.
Abrams, who comes from a documentary background, directed from a script by Claire Audrey Aguayo. His previous work includes I GOT A MONSTER about police corruption in Baltimore. His next film is the documentary CIRCLES OF FAILURE, which covers the fall of Kabul and the resulting refugees who came to the United States.