Ex-BHS student directs immigration film

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Film director Zach Ingrasci got his start helping the world while attending Bainbridge High School.

That’s when he worked on the Netza Project that provided education for indigenous children in Mexico. Growing up on BI he played lacrosse and soccer, which he went on to play in college at Claremont McKenna.

He wanted a career that would drive social impact so he got into filmmaking. His latest effort, is called Five Years North.

The award-winning documentary is the coming-of-age story of Luis, a 16-year-old undocumented Guatemalan boy who has just arrived in New York City. As he struggles to work, study and evade ICE, veteran ICE officer Judy struggles with the toll of her job and weighs its human cost even as her young son looks to follow in her footsteps. This film is an up-close and personal look at the immigration system.

The film premieres Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. PST. on the WORLD Channel and worldchannel.org. It is part of the documentary series America ReFramed. It is presented as part of a lineup of documentary films showcasing Latinx/Hispanic culture during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Ingrasci is a director and the founder of Optimist. Best known for directing the feature documentaries Living On One Dollar and Salam Neighbor, his films have been released by Netflix, Amazon Prime, National Geographic and The Atlantic. Every Optimist film is accompanied by an impact campaign. His projects have raised over $91.5 million for the films’ causes. He’s also passionate about mentoring and supporting other up-and-coming queer filmmakers, his online biography says.

Over the past decade the Latinx population in America has grown by 23%, yet issues like immigration, housing and education persist and affect many Hispanic communities across the country. Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans and the Latinx community to the history, culture and achievements of the United States.

“Hispanic heritage, just like Black or Asian heritage, is America’s heritage,” said Chris Hastings, executive producer of WORLD Channel at GBH in Boston. “It is important to celebrate all of the cultures that make up America, and the best way to do that is by sharing unique and impactful stories that everyone can connect with.”

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