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Persister: Women speaking up and being heard

As news spread about America's new "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated migrant families at the border, one mother's personal plight caught the attention of a mother of three in Queens, New York. When Julie Schwietert Collazo heard the story of Yeni Gonzalez, a Guatemalan woman who, while seeking asylum, was detained in Arizona while her three children were sent into foster care in New York, Julie sprang into action. This powerful documentary strongly brings into focus women from both sides of the border: the mothers who have bravely crossed into the US seeking asylum and the activists within Immigrant Families Together. Through their stories, these women shine a spotlight on the inhumanity behind the USA’s unjust treatment of asylum seekers. Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton (Somewhere Between) returns to Hot Docs with an inspiring and stirring film, highlighting that power does rest in the hands of the people when one is courageous enough to take the first step towards change. Heather Haynes


  • Director(s)

    • Linda Goldstein Knowlton
  • Producer(s)

    • Maria Grasso
    • Marti Noxon
    • Linda Goldstein Knowlton
    • Miranda Bailey
  • Executive Producer(s)

    • Rosario Dawson
    • Zak Kilberg
    • Amanda Marshall
    • Jason Beck
  • Editor(s)

    • Eric Torres
    • Alessandro Soares
  • Cinematography

    • Nelson Hume
    • Nancy Serna-Guerrero
  • Composer

    • Lili Haydn
  • Sound

    • Ben Posnack
    • Veronica Lopez
  • Visit the film's website

Promotional Partners

Persister presented in partnership with

Oxfam Canada

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