• Absentee's House
    Aggie Ebrahimi, Oscar Molina, Catalina Ortiz, Brenda Isabel Steinecke Soto & Sandra Tabares-Duque

Oscar Molina, Metztitlan's landscape through a remittance house window, 2016, Metztitlan, Mexico. Courtesy of Oscar Molina.

Five families make a great effort to build the house where they always longed to live. Many years later their dream is accomplished but none of them dwell in there. These houses belong to migrants from Metztitlan, Mexico, who went to live and work in Philadelphia with the goal to get the resources to build the houses they never had in their homeland. They invested the savings from several years of hard work and did a huge transnational effort to accomplish their dream. However, achieving their dream took a long time and suddenly, when their houses were completed and some fully furnished, their homes had been transformed into something else. Through the story of each family, Absentees’ House provides an empathetic account of different “home experiences” that have been reconfigured by migration, economic inequality, and tradition. This film is part of the transmedia documentary trilogy Mi Casa My Home.

Aggie Ebrahimi, associate producer, is an award-winning, Iranian-American documentary filmmaker and educator who is well-versed in questions of immigration and diaspora. Ebrahimi holds a master's degree in multicultural literature and women's studies from the University of Georgia and an MFA from Temple University. Her most recent film, Inheritance (2012), blends poetic and observational documentary forms to investigate diasporic identity formation and gender politics in the shadow of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. In 2013, Inheritance received the Loni Ding Award for Social Issue Documentary at CAAMFest. Ebrahini is currently an assistant professor of film production at Georgia State University.

Oscar Molina, director and producer, is a Colombian filmmaker who studied film at Columbia University and completed his MFA at Temple University. His video work has been broadcast on national television and exhibited in film festivals around the world, including Havana, Cuba (1996 and 2000); Rosario, Argentina (2000); Fipatel, Biarritz, Francia (2000); Bogota, Colombia (2003); the Mexican Human Rights Film Festival (2003); the Nextframe Festival (2009); and dance film festivals in the United States and Spain (2010 and 2013). In 2004, he received the Simon Bolivar National Journalist Prize for his documentary The Enchanted Kingdom. His documentary Ciudad a Tres Bandas is part of the Colombian Documentary Showcase (La Maleta). Molina has served in several positions, including programming director at the art cinema house Colombo Americano (2004–06) and funder/director of the Sin Fronteras Film Festival (2007–08).

Catalina Ortiz, academic advisor, is a lecturer at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit in the Building and Urban Design in Development Progam, which seeks to contribute to shaping just cities in the global south. She holds a PhD in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar. She also holds a master's degree in urban and regional studies and a BArch from the National University of Colombia. Her professional experience focuses on teaching, research, and consultancy, linked to international organizations, as well as national and local governments, around urban projects and spatial planning issues in Latin America. Ortiz previously worked on full-time basis for the National University of Colombia (Medellin), where she was director of urban and regional planning at the School of Architecture, leading collaborative initiatives in transnational design studios on spatial strategies for informality. She also served as a visiting fellow at the Latin Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. In addition, she has worked as a senior consultant in urban development for the Inter-American Bank, the Cities Alliance Program, and the Informal City Requalification Foundation (ReCI).

Sandra Tabares-Duque has curated and produced film festivals and cultural activities in Europe and Latin America. Currently, she is focusing on the production of diverse and boundary-pushing forms of audio-visual and transmedia storytelling. Tabares-Duque has been selected as a Future Producer, through an initiative between Tribeca Film Institute and the Sheffield Docfest. Her latest major film productions are the multiple award-winning Quipu Project (UK/Peru), a feature documentary film and interactive cross-media project (Tribeca Film Festival Interactive Day, 2015; IDFA, 2015; HotDocs, 2016; the Guardian Documentaries, 2017), which combines low and high technology to connect the voices of people affected by a campaign of forced sterilization in 1990s Peru, and the feature film InnSæi (UK/Iceland), which has been screened at the Reykjavik and San Diego International Film Festivals and on Netflix. Her prior projects include the Arts Council of England award-winning film Sailing Out Of Grain (2012), and the Colombian film Did You See Cristina On The 7th March? (2012).

Brenda I. Steinecke Soto, producer, holds an MA in philosophy from the University of Hamburg. Her artistic work emerges at the intersection between choreography and other arts, focusing on the physical and social spaces of particular territories as a motivation and conceptual path for her research. She is cofounder of the artistic collective Bassedanse Project (Hamburg, Germany), and director of the nonprofit organization Espacio Arte Foundation (Medellín, Colombia), whose approach relies on boosting dynamics of social transformation through multidisciplinary artistic projects, intertwining work in a local and international context.