Airs Sunday, 9/29/2013 at 6pm PT on KQED 9.
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Stable Life follows the remarkable story of an immigrant family chasing a better life in the stables of California racetracks. Dionicia Martinez lives with her family in a room on a Northern California racetrack and works long hours tending horses . Despite her humble surroundings, Dionicia is optimistic about her prospects: she likes her job, her two US citizen boys are in school, and her oldest son José Luis is turning heads as a hot-shot apprentice jockey in California. Although she is undocumented, Dionicia dreams of bringing her two sons who remain in Mexico to join her in the United States.
Horse racing in its heyday was a glamorous sport–the Sport of Kings. Wealthy owners, colorful jockeys and elegant thoroughbreds were once the dominant images of the racetrack and Triple Crown races have been cause for national celebration. Today, however, horse racing faces hard times. Competition from televised sports and expanded gambling opportunities have reduced the fan base and racetracks across the country are closing their doors. Moreover, the high-profile deaths and doping of champion horses have led the public to question the sport’s treatment of thoroughbred horses. Yet there remains a racetrack story even more hidden: that of the immigrant workers who live and work on the backside of the racetrack.
At the track, gamblers make long-shot bets in the hopes of winning big. This high-risk, high-intensity environment mirrors the situation faced by many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America: with no possibility of getting legal work visas, these immigrants gamble on improving their lives by working and living clandestinely. These gambles often result in suffering as immigrants face isolation, extended separation from loved ones, and constant uncertainty and fear.
Indeed, Dionicia’s gamble soon appears lost. The racetrack where she works and lives closes down, and immigration crackdowns threaten her family. Undeterred, Dionicia will double down her on her bet in a surprising way. Will she achieve the stable life of her dreams, or will her luck run out?
SARA MACPHERSON’S BIO
Director/Producer Sara MacPherson
Before making documentaries, Sara worked as an immigration lawyer specializing in political asylum and family immigration. Her videos document the immigrant experience and explore the intersection of personal stories with larger policy issues. Sara has been a FilmHouse Fellow with the San Francisco Film Society, a MediaMaker grantee with the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) and a Documentary Fellow at the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Academy. She also has received a Support, Training and Access for New Directors (STAND) Fellowship from the Film Arts Foundation. She lives in San Francisco.
Stable Life is a California Documentary Project-funded film.
CINE-FESTIVAL FILM PICK with sacurrent.com
INTERVIEW W/ SARA MACPHERSON by
CINE + MAS SAN FRANCISCON LATINO FILM FESTIVAL
Photo: Mabel Jimenez-Hernandez
CINEQUEST FILM FESTIVAL
Best Documentary 2013
Sara MacPherson accepts the Audience Award at the Gwangju International Film Festival
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