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After moving to the United States 10 years ago from Argentina, filmmaker Sebastian Cordoba still hasn’t secured a green card. His artist visa allows him to produce films in America, like his recent look at the LGBT immigration struggle in the documentary “Through Thick and Thin.” But, at any moment, he could lose it.
“My predicament is somewhat similar to those of the couples in the film, although with a different sense of urgency,” Cordoba tells Between The Lines. “In the beginning of my stay in this country, I obtained a work visa that could be extended to a maximum of six years. At the same time, I was partnered with an American for part of that time. It was then that I understood how insidious this problem is.”
On his relationship with an American citizen
One of the most difficult things to bear was not being able to see beyond the six years the visa allowed me to stay in the country. It felt like a ticking clock coming to its end. So we took it upon ourselves to really do something about it. It became a job to find a way to stay. Since there were no options except breaking the law or moving to another country to be together, my partner started to lose faith in the whole thing. At the same time, I began to panic that our relationship was going to end. And it did – for other reasons – but I have to say that our relationship ending was partly due to the burden of having to deal with my situation.
On film-shooting challenges
What I think was the most challenging was to translate my own feelings and experiences through the voices of my subject couples in a comprehensive manner. The most difficult thing for me was to find a way to cover all the different nuances that binational couples encompass. My biggest fear was creating a weak collage of situations that made little sense. In the end, we managed to show part of the big universe these couples live (family, work and friends) in their everyday life – but also showing their struggle to remain together. I am quite happy with the result, since we wanted to show the impact this issue has on the larger familial units and neighborhoods, as well.
On the effects of his subjects
I think all of the stories had a residual affect on me. At the end of the shooting process, I felt lethargic. I had seen so much suffering that I was becoming a tad impervious to it and, at the same time, I had a sense that there was no hope. No matter what I did, things were going to be bad or get worse. What really inspired me after that is the fact, a year after we wrapped up production, all the couples in the film are still together, fighting for their rights.
On who should see the film
To me this is a matter of equality for Americans; if they (viewers) were to be straight, they would have no problem at all. Yet watching this film can motivate all audiences to get involved and to get informed. Finally, I want to pass on a message that love will survive no matter what is thrown at it. These people will not separate. They will do whatever they can to stay together. So, why do this? We can all benefit from allowing loving, stable, long-term same-sex couples to stay, prosper and grow old together on American soil.