Plenty of documentaries shine a spotlight on important social issues, but how many can claim an actual tangible victory?
On Monday, Ruth Leitman, director of "Tony & Janina's American Wedding," celebrated along with the subjects of her film, Tony and Janina Wasilewski. After four years apart, the couple -- symbols of America's broken U.S. immigration system -- were reunited in Chicago, thanks in large part to the documentary that shined a spotlight on their case.
The Associated Press specifically credits the film, along with U.S. Congressmen Mike Quigley and Luis Gutierrez as well as other activists who championed their cause.
Janina Wasilewski came to the United States – legally – in 1989 and sought political asylum from communist Poland. But according to published reports, a U.S. immigration judge denied her petition for asylum after the fall of communism in Poland. She was later denied a green card, and deported back to Poland, along with her 6-year-old American-born son.
According to the film's promotional materials, the movie -- which calls itself a "deportation love story" -- aims to "serve as tool to broaden the conversation in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Movement as an agent for change and to galvanize a nation polarized on this issue, in order to help create more humane laws for the 12 million undocumented living within our borders."
While Leitman's documentary made the major news headlines today, the film doesn't have a DVD distributor (though you can order it through the filmmaker's website). Leitman is currently seeking a broadcast partner. For U.S. sales info, contact Keith Fenimore (Keithfenimore [at] hotmail.com).
Given the amazing -- and surprising happy ending to the story -- Leitman also says she is creating a new epilogue for the doc, "because the film was so instrumental in this outcome."
See the trailer below:
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