Film screening at Pfau Library shows human side of immigration debate


“Smuggled,” a story of a boy and his mother who are brought into the United States hidden in a compartment underneath a tour bus, isn’t so much a film about immigration reform as it is a story of the relationship between the boy, Miguel, and his mother, its director says.

Smuggled promotional photoThe film was the official selection of 15 festivals worldwide and the winner of five “Best Of” awards, including Best Feature at the 2012 Mexico International Film Festival, will be screened at Cal State San Bernardino’s John M. Pfau Library on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 5:30 p.m. The free event will be in PL 5005 on the library’s fifth floor; parking for library-sponsored events is free by stopping at the parking kiosk at the University Parkway entrance.

Ramon Hamilton, who directed the movie and wrote the screenplay, said “Smuggled” doesn’t take a side on the immigration reform debate, but tells the story of the people who go to great lengths and face extreme challenges to come to the U.S., helping to answer, in part, the question, “Who are these people?”

The idea for the film came from a combination of Hamilton’s life experiences. In the early 2000s, he ran a construction company, and one of his workers was from Columbia who had come to the U.S. illegally. Hamilton got to know him and learned of the challenges he faced coming here, including spending the last 24 hours of his trip hiding in a tiny space in the rear of a Greyhound bus, behind the restroom.

And in getting to know the man, and others in similar situations, Hamilton said he came to learn that they left families behind and worked to send money back home to build houses for their loved ones.Smuggled Movie Screening full flier

The other inspiration for the story came from Hamilton’s positive relationship with his own mother. The story of “Smuggled” became one about the son, Miguel, and his mother Hilaria (which is Hamilton’s mother’s name) and how they face the challenges of being brought into the U.S. illegally.

“It’s really a good, engaging film with some very good and engaging actors,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said that “Smuggled” also gives a more human side of the immigration reform debate by telling the story of those who make the often dangerous journey. At film festivals, where the audience tends to represent a more conservative side of the political spectrum than at, say, a college screening, Hamilton said he’s heard nothing but positive comments.

And those who have said they were politically conservative have told him that “Smuggled” showed them another side – the human side – of the issue that they had not considered before seeing the film.

“That’s what the power of film and media is,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton will attend the screening and will be available to meet with the audience. Also, DVDs of “Smuggled” will be available for $10.

For more information on the film, visit the “Smuggled” website at where a trailer is also posted, as well as the film’s Facebook page.

For more information on the event, contact the Pfau Library at (909) 537-5102.

And for more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit