Current events contain similarities to the past. Poughkeepsie’s First Ward and its history of immigration will be the topic at a screening then follow-up discussion of a local award-winning documentary. Learn the area’s storied past in immigration by watching Crossing Waters, a documentary that chronicles the immigrant experience in late-19th and early-20th-century Poughkeepsie.
Around the turn of the 20th-century, Irish and Italian families faced economic hardship, cultural barriers, and nativism when arriving in the United States—all of which filmmaker Jane Watson uses to apply to immigration themes today. This documentary focuses on how immigration impacts community, taking a larger theme down to a local level. Through archival research and immigrants with descendants,the film merges history with person-to-person accessibility, the “human element” that can sometimes be left out of the stories documenting the waves of immigration. Crossing Waters has received awards at California’s Indiefest, the Spotlight Film Competition in Atlanta, and Best Short Documentary 2016 at the Mexico International Film Festival. Jane Watson, NYU film school graduate, is based in the Hudson Valley. Her previous work has involved newspaper photography in New York City, covering civil rights movements, police actions, and political life. Watson will be joined by The Nation article “What if the US Really Did Deport 11 Million People?” writer DW Gibson for the discussion following the film’s screening. October 28, 7pm at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum Henry A. Wallace Center in Hyde Park.