CHURROS explores the experience of one immigrant family living in the shadows of NYC, shining a light on the daily struggles and joys of a family trying to survive. The film is set in Bushwick, Brooklyn's most populous Hispanic-American community and the 7th-most impoverished neighborhood in NYC. More than 75% of the children in the neighborhood are born into poverty. As the neighborhood continues to be gentrified, that wealth is not shared with the marginalized members of the community. Regardless, the residents push forward to create positive outlets, including creating businesses to support their cultural traditions in food and other items, and in the case of our character Jo-Jo, by involvement with a local b-boy dance crew using dance as a joyful form of expression. As neighborhoods filled with poverty sometimes also breed criminal activity, this is reflected in the film via the character of Raffi, who has chosen a darker path than Jo-Jo and tries to pull Jo-Jo into his criminal ring. The crux of the film is the choice that lies with Jo-Jo - does he continue on a positive path as a dancer, or does he try to help his struggling street vendor single mother by committing crimes that will bring more money to help his family survive? Not a simple choice, and the film attempts to wrestle with all the varied aspects of this decision.
Our inspiration for making this film comes from both personal experience and imagination. Bruce was a b-boy as a young man, with experiences both as a street dancer and a featured breakdancer in BREAKIN’, Mariah Carey videos, and Philips Electronics commercials. He is excited to relive his bboy days through this film. Emilie spent her childhood traveling in a VW bus with her family, and lived for an extended period of time in Guanajuato, Mexico. She also spent her junior high and high school years in Albuquerque, New Mexico at schools with predominately Latino populations. This story of a young bboy from a Mexican family is close to our hearts. It is an immigrant story, which is ultimately everyone’s story. We cannot open our eyes in our current culture without being aware of the struggle that immigrant families are currently going through, both financially and emotionally. The grit and resilience it takes to push through the obstacles are inspiring to say the least. Quite literally through Jo-Jo’s eyes we see the challenges faced by a teenage boy in one family, and the choices he is forced to make to help his family survive. We also see the joy and hope given through art and dance, something our world needs more of. We hope to inspire and challenge the viewer with this small glimpse of Jo-Jo’s world. And we are excited to tell more of his story when we make our feature soon.
- Emilie & Bruce -