Subjects: Immigration Studies, North American Studies
When twelve-year-old Itan, straight-A-smart, comes home from school in San Francisco, she is stunned to find their furniture up-ended, and no trace of her mother, Yoana. Child Protective Services dumps Itan and her six-year-old brother Neto with their estranged uncle Evencio, a big rig truck driver. Itan can't stand him. He's arrogant, unreliable, and probably criminal. After a desperate search, Itan locates Yoana in an immigration detention center in Arizona and convinces Evencio to take them there.
They are propelled onto the road in Evencio’s truck, through the maddening labyrinth of immigration detention. Itan fights to free her mother before she is deported. But her mother keeps slipping from her grasp, as she is transferred from prison to prison.
Their journey takes them through the deserts of the southern border, to sprawling truck stops, border patrol offices and secret immigration prisons.In the close quarters of Evencio's truck cab, Itan and Neto begin to bring a better man out of Evencio. But Evencio abandons them just when it seems they have a chance of stopping their mother's deportation. Are they now truly on their own? Or will Evencio come through and reunite the family?
Jury Prize for Best US Indie at Sonoma International Film Festival 2019 and Best Feature at Arizona International Film Festival 2019
"Timely and quietly affecting, this assured feature debut from Bay Area director Richard Levien concerns a young girl and her even younger brother who go on a road trip to retrieve their mother after ICE agents haul the woman away for possible deportation. The acting, cinematography and music all lend the film a gritty and emotional authenticity.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“San Francisco writer-director Richard Levien’s “Collisions,” a sensitively portrayed, moving story about an immigrant family in San Francisco and the travails they experience as a result of their government-forced separation, stands out as a particularly real-life, timely selection in the 21st San Francisco IndieFest.” – San Francisco Examiner
About the filmmaker
Richard Levien has been writing, directing and editing award-winning films for 12 years. Levien's short “Immersion”, about a ten-year-old boy from Mexico who struggles to fit in at his new school in the U.S., premiered at Slamdance in 2009. “Immersion” won the “No Violence” award at the Ann Arbor film festival, and Best Bay Area short at the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). The film received a Resolution of the California Legislature, and is used by more than 50 school districts and universities to support education about English Language Learners. In 2009 Levien won the inaugural San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant, for screenwriting on his first feature film as a writer/director, “Collisions”. The project won three further SFFS/KRF grants, for development, production and post production. Levien is from New Zealand. He has a PhD in theoretical physics from Princeton University.