The most difficult journey of their lives as an undocumented family returns home on “Bulls and Saints” on POV – Sept. 18 at 10 pm< < Back to
America’s longest running non-fiction series presents Bulls and Saints, a richly captured portrait of a migrant family’s life in the wake of the Great Latino Migration to the American South. A co-production with Latino Public Broadcasting, Bulls and Saints directed by Rodrigo Dorfman and produced by Peter Eversoll will make its world premiere and national broadcast on Monday, September 18, 2023 at 10pm ET and will be available to stream until December 17, 2023 at pbs.org, and the PBS App. In addition to standard closed captioning for the film, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities.
Bulls and Saints challenges the typical migrant narrative with a tender and intimate view of an undocumented family living in rural North Carolina and their unrelenting quest to return to their homeland of Michoacán, Mexico. Dorfman’s film explores the everyday realities of life as an undocumented migrant – from the quotidian interior moments to the extraordinary experiences that shape their lives in their close knit community. All the while, their homeland is never far from their thoughts.
The migrant story is often told through the lens of the arrival to the United States in search of economic opportunities or more simply, a better life. Bulls and Saints explores reverse migration as Tacho and Cecilia plan a future for themselves and their children outside of the US, charting the days until they can save enough to make the journey back to Mexico. In between phone calls to their native Cherán, working long hours, and financial planning, their family finds joy in the Latino/x migrant community through the shared traditions of food, religious celebrations, and in the bull rodeos.
Rodrigo Dorfman’s own experiences as a Chilean exile in the US, having been forced to leave his own birthplace as a child, allow him to compassionately understand Tacho’s situation and to foster a deep connection with him and his family. The end result is a truly collaborative community-driven film. Situated at the intersection of cinema verité and the aesthetics of Latin American magical realism, Dorfman presents the community members with dignity and as partners to the filmmaking process, while highlighting the complexities of being undocumented and far from home.
Bulls and Saints captures the unyielding love between family near and far, the yearning for home in heart and mind while offering a tale of redemption and resilience. For those curious to understand the life of a migrant, to understand the challenges faced by migrant workers and their families, to understand the importance of community and the bonds of tradition, the film presents the colorful and compelling lived realities of the “Nuevo South”.
Bulls and Saints director Rodrigo Dorfman said, “Twenty years ago when I decided to settle in the United States, I thought I had lost Latin America forever, and then a miracle happened: the Great Latino Migration brought it to my doorstep. The arrival of millions of Latin American migrants to the American South gave me the chance to find a way to belong in this country without having to lose my roots. After two decades of being a community documentarian and an emerging “Nuevo South” folklorist, I am grateful that POV has given me and my Latino/x communities the chance to share with a national audience the never before seen stories of a community looking for a way to belong as part of our Nation’s ongoing journey toward a more perfect union.”
“Rodrigo Dorfman’s film brings us to the interior world of working class migrant communities of the ‘Nuevo South’ – from domestic spaces, to Feast of San Francisco celebrations and into rodeo culture – providing a full and dynamic portrait of familial and community bonds we so rarely see in Latinx stories. This film touches on a universal longing for home, for redemption and the persistence needed to keep moving forward. We hope audiences gain insight into struggles of undocumented workers, their dreams and their contributions to the fabric of our country,” said Erika Dilday, Executive Director American Documentary and Executive Producer, POV and America ReFramed.
Bulls and Saints was co-produced by Nuevo South, LLC and Firelight Media in association with American Documentary | POV and Latino Public Broadcasting, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Rodrigo Dorfman is the director. The producer is Peter Eversoll. Executive Producers are Erika Dilday and Chris White for American Documentary | POV, Sandie Viquez Pedlow for Latino Public Broadcasting and Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith for Firelight Media.