New York City, New York | Film Feature


Andrea Cordoba

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $15,390 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

125 supporters | followers

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Help us tell the story of the first undocumented immigrant to take sanctuary in NYC since President Trump took office. The film is an intimate portrait of Amanda and her family as they fight to remain together and adapt to life in the church. Now more than ever, we need to share stories like this.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

At its core, Sanctuary is a compelling story with a strong Latina subject taking place in New York in a turbulent political climate. It allows the voice and experience of an undocumented woman, whose perspective is conventionally dismissed, to be truly heard. The filmmakers are also women of color.

The Story

Amanda Morales walked into a church in NYC not knowing when she would step outside again. The Guatemalan mother of three U.S. born children is the first immigrant since President Trump took office to claim sanctuary, publicly resisting her deportation within a space that ICE recognizes as protected.


About the Project


The Film: 
Sanctuary gains rare and intimate access to Amanda and her family as they fight to remain together and adapt to life inside of the church. The main narrative focuses on the ways in which the church becomes both sanctuary and prison for Amanda. We watch her endure the struggles of maintaining a stable family unit despite being unable to partake in normal activities such as taking her children to school or buying groceries. Though ICE has labelled her a ‘fugitive’, we see her as a loving and affectionate mother to her three young children and a valued member of her community. The film also explores the overlooked issue of trauma faced by children of undocumented parents. At the ages of 10, 8 and 3 respectively, Dulce, Daniela and David must confront the possibility that their mother may not be there when they return from school, rendering them ‘ICE Orphans’.


The film also follows the development of grassroots efforts to defend and protect immigrants.Two secondary characters, Rev. Dr. Luis Barrios and Father Juan Carlos Ruiz, bridge Amanda’s story to the development of the New Sanctuary Movement, an interfaith network standing in solidarity with undocumented families. Through them, Sanctuary examines the expanding political and secular role that the church plays for communities in the absence of federal security for residents in so-called sanctuary cities and states.


The Story Behind the Film: 

As a Mexican woman living in the United States, I keenly understand the challenges and rewards of the immigrant experience in difficult political climates. I have been filming with the New Sanctuary Movement for over a year and was already a trusted ally when Amanda decided to take sanctuary. The film is an intimate verite story that follows Amanda’s unfolding journey from the moment she packs her bags and leaves her home in Long Island in order to move into the Upper Manhattan church.


The situation with Amanda is difficult, fraught with anxiety and danger, but I established a strong relationship with her and her children as well as with the leaders of the protest movement. This sensitive approach allowed me to document true intimacy and to tell a story about one woman’s struggle while also filling in the broader context of the contentious issue of immigration in the age of Trump.


It was very important for me to set myself apart from the mainstream media which Amanda can find overwhelming and invasive. I sought to work collaboratively with Amanda, and to explore the cathartic processes possible within Documentary storytelling. By gifting Amanda a journal and gently encouraging her to describe her experiences in her own words and in her own time, I aim to centralize Amanda’s voice, as opposed to being a filmmaker who speaks for her subject.


Andrea Cordoba filming Sanctuary in 2017. 


What We Need


The film is nearly finished but there are few final things we need to pay for:

- Sound Design & Mixing 

- Music Composition

- Color Correction & Online Edit


In the event that we raise $15,000 to pay for the above items, my Stretch Goals include:

- Copyright Clearance Fees

- Film Festival Entry Fees


Why Support This Film?

Immigrants have become increasingly vulnerable and threatened under the Trump Administration. Although the so-called Muslim Ban and the Border Wall proposals have been blocked and delayed, statistics released by ICE suggest that Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda is having a very real impact on the ground. For example, since 2017, arrests of undocumented immigrants has risen by 38% with ICE detaining more than 400 people per day. The film is unique in that it gives a human face to these statistics, which by themselves can be difficult for the average American to digest, and easy to ignore.


The Morales family provides a relatable lens through which the crisis faced by the 11 million undocumented immigrants can be experienced and understood. It also aims to foster a solution-based attitude to the situation, by showcasing what can be achieved through grassroots community action. Furthermore, it approaches a widely discussed topic of immigration and deportation in a way which cultivates empathy, by allowing a viewer to understand how an attack on a single individual can be an attack on a community at large.



By supporting this project, you are supporting the immigrant community and spreading a message of acceptance and solidarity.


Furthermore, there aren't enough films directed by women. Hopefully this film will encourage future generations of women to go out and make films and seek out films by, for and about women. 


Lastly, Amanda has allowed me to film and follow the most difficult year of her life and I feel an enormous responsibility in telling her story. I would be forever grateful if you help me finish the film and share it with the world!





Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Sound Design/Sound Mix

Costs $4,000

$4,000 for a great soundmix!

Color Correction

Costs $6,000

$6,000 for color correction in order to make the film look as good as it can!

Original Music Score

Costs $5,000

$5,000 to get a composer to write an original score for the film.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Andrea Cordoba (Director/Producer/DP/Editor) is a Mexican filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. For the past 6 years, she has worked as a visual storyteller exploring the medium in relation to immigrant and Latinx voices. Andrea has worked for CNN, as well as Researcher for documentary 500 Years (2017), as Archival Coordinator for documentary Bones of Contention (2017) and is currently the Associate Producer for the documentary Harvest Season (2018). She received her BA in Anthropology and Journalism from NYU and an MFA in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts.


Bella Randle Racklin (Producer) was born in London and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and England. She received her BA in History of Art from the University of Edinburgh, focusing her dissertation on the role that video documentation of craft production plays in the representation of refugee and female narratives. She received an MFA in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts, NYC. Previous work includes "Closed for Business", a short film about the Yemeni Bodega owners strike in Brooklyn. She is currently in production on a feature film about the oldest surviving Ellis Island immigration ferry.


Francisco Sanchez Solis (Co-Producer) is a Mexican film director and producer based in Mexico City. He attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied Film Production and Art History. Francisco is a founding partner of Enfant & Poulet, a creative studio and multimedia firm based in Los Angeles and Mexico City, focusing on narrative, documentary and commercial productions.


Alvaro Garcia Lecuona (Associate Producer) - is a screenwriter and producer based in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Mexico City, Alvaro received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. His feature script WHAT IF? was selected as Semifinalist in the 2018 Austin Film Festival. Alvaro has also collaborated on social justice-centered documentary projects including A PLACE OF ABSENCE (2018) and SANCTUARY (2019).



Cristóbal MarYán (Composer) - knows no boundaries in music making. The Mexican composer writes anything from art music all the way to scores for movies. His works have been premiered and played in New York (Open Source Music Festival), Italy, Canada, Mexico, Abu Dhabi and Sri Lanka, performed by artists as the String Orchestra of New York City, Jeffrey Zeigler, Onix Ensamble, the Verona Quartet, the Downwind Quintet, Philip Nolte, members of the UAE NSO, Karl Kramer, Monica Bauschwitz, Sebastián Espinosa Carrasco, Carly Gordon and Mariya Polishchuk among others. He has written music and designed sound for plays and has scored a number of short films and T.V. advertisements for FOX, the NFL, Chevrolet, NatGeo, Bundesliga, The Walking Dead, and HP. He wrote the score for the horror movie "Desde el Más Allá." (Macabro Film Fest), and acted as music supervisor in the film "Of Many" produced by Chelsea Clinton. In 2016 he co-founded Element Audio Group (a scoring and audio post-production company) with Samuel Nacach.   


Bernardo Ruiz (Executive Producer) - is a two-time Emmy® nominated documentary maker.  He was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Mexico His directorial feature debut, Reportero, about attacks on the press in Mexico premiered at Full Frame (U.S.), IDFA (Europe) and Ambulante (Mexico). His second film, Kingdom of Shadows, premiered at SXSW (U.S. )and IDFA (Europe). His third film, Harvest Season, will premiere at Mill Valley Film Festival (U.S.) this fall. 

Current Team