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A Peruvian-American woman conquers immigration, illness, and family isolation in this unforgettable story of reconciliation.




“Perhaps it was foolish to expect that sixteen years of absence, pain, piling resentments, and shame could be overcome in just a few weeks…”


Prodigal Daughter tells the story of a filmmaker’s reconciliation with her Peruvian family after sixteen years as an undocumented immigrant in California.


Fleeing Peru in the 1990’s to escape political persecution, Mabel Valdiviezo endures traumatizing experiences and cultural isolation while her family suffers at home.


Years later, about to become a U.S. citizen, Mabel seeks to reunite with her parents while battling a life threatening illness.


Would Mabel’s growing spirit of forgiveness, a new acceptance of responsibility, and courage to face her past let her recover love and bring healing to herself and her family?


A documentary that offers a woman’s perspective on the immigrant narrative, Prodigal Daughter evokes universal emotions while exploring intimate relationships.


Why Now


Director’s Statement


Back in the 90s, when I emigrated from Peru, I was forced to make tough choices in order to survive in a new land. This film follows my journey from feeling lost and helpless to embracing my Latina identity, reconciling with my family after 16 years of separation, and discovering a new path for living a fulfilling life.


My dream is to help new immigrants – especially Latino women – to uncover the power of the human spirit in conquering challenges of U.S. immigration policies, family isolation and illness by sharing this message through my passion for art and film.


Please connect with me any time to explore Prodigal Daughter, a story meant to inspire people – immigrants, psychologists, art therapists, policy makers, and community leaders – on the importance of discovering new ways to live happy and healthy lives.





  • Mabel Valdiviezo Producer & Director

    Mabel is an award-winning filmmaker and alumni of the Sundance Producers Conference who creates visually compelling films on socially relevant contemporary issues. She is a winner of the Women in Film Emerging Filmmaker Award and her film, Soledad Is Gone Forever, screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner and at LALIFF. She produced Carlos Baron, Poeta Pan, a documentary short for the KQED arts show, Spark. Her script, Soledad’s Awakening, was a finalist at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. With her documentary project Prodigal Daughter, she participated in the NALIP Latino Media Market 2012 and, more recently, in the NALIP Latino Producers Academy 2013. Mabel is a recipient of the 2013 NALIP Artist Mentorship Grant.

  • Manuel Tsingaris – Editor

    Manuel is an accomplished documentary editor of award winning films that have aired on PBS and found acclaim on the film festival circuit. His editing credits include: Alive Inside, by Michael Rossato-Bennett; Purgatorio, by Rodrigo Reyes; The Rugby Player, by Scott Gracheff; The Storm That Swept Mexico, by Ray Telles; A Dream in Doubt, by Tamy Yeager; China Blue, by Micha X. Peled; and Writ Writer, by Susanne Mason. Tsingaris edited multiple segments for the PBS program Life360 and has recently edited a segment for the highly acclaimed PBS series Latino Americans.

  • Jorge Vignati – DP (Peru)

    Jorge is the most celebrated Director of Photography working in Peru today. He has an impressive body of work in feature films and independent documentaries. He has shot over eighty documentaries all over the world, including Nicaragua, Bolivia, Philippines, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Antarctica, Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal and the USA. Among his many accomplishments, Vignati was assistant director and cameraman in Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo.He has shot for National Geographic, BBC, Travel Channel, Discovery, and Paramount.

  • Tupac Saavedra – DP (U.S.)

    Tupac is a cameraman and documentary filmmaker that splits his time between his native home, Bolivia and the United States. Tupac recently completed Bolivian Baroque, a 42-minute documentary that aired on European television. During the historic 2005 presidential elections in Bolivia, he followed the campaign of Evo Morales, who went on to become Bolivia’s first indigenous president. His award-winning documentary, On The Road With Evo, is a close look at Morales the person and the politician, as well as an examination of the political conditions that brought him into power.

  • Guillermo Palacios – Location Sound

    Guillermo is a highly experienced location sound person and sound mixer who has worked on over 25 Peruvian films and international co-productions. In the documentary genre, he has been the location sound person for several Peruvian projects as well as for National Geographic, BBC, TV Española, ZDF and NDR in Germany. Guillermo is the founder of Perfo Studio, a sound facility in Lima, Peru, were he is the sound designer and lead sound mixer of feature films. Recently, he was the location sound person and sound designer of October, a Peruvian film that won the Un Certain Regard Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

  • Marilyn Mulford – Consulting Producer

    Marilyn is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who produces films about race, ethnic diversity, and art to highlight political issues and preserve culture. Her producing credits include Freedom on my Mind, Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and Nominee for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; Archeology Of Memory: Villa Grimaldi, winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Mill Valley Film Festival; and Chicano Park, winner of Gold Awards at the Houston & Chicago International Film Festivals and included on the Astlan Film Institute’s list of top 100-Chicano films.

  • Mitch Teplitsky – Consulting Producer

    Mitch advises on audience building, educational & new media strategies for the film. He has been on the forefront of innovative fundraising, marketing and distribution strategies for independent filmmakers, and as a plus he has extensive knowledge of the Peruvian experience in the U.S. He is a documentary filmmaker and marketing/fundraiser consultant, based in New York City and Lima, Peru. His feature documentary Soy Andina, about Peru, dance and identity, was broadcast on U.S. public television (Latino Public Broadcasting) in 2009 and 2010.

  • Jillian Oana – Partner Development & Community Engagement

    Jillian draws on her years spent in film, video, fundraising, advertising, event creation, and integrated marketing to make personal connections – designed to occupy hearts. Nonprofits, technology startups, and global brands rely on her creative flair to inspire growth across culturally diverse communities.



We would like to thank our community supporters for their amazing commitment and support in making it possible to spread our film and inspirational message.




“Can A Latina Filmmaker Crowdfund A New Narrative On Immigration?”

The Huffington Post
“How to Reignite Your Personal Power”

ThroughThe Cracks
“Empowering documentary explores migration and mental health”

Expressive Art Workshops
“Mabel Valdiviezo: Empowering women and immigrants through film, story, and art journaling”

Art with Impact
“The issue of mental health amongst the immigrant community”

Modern Latina
“Prodigal Daughter brings a new perspective to the immigration debate: the mental health challenges shaping immigrant communities today.”

Lupita News
“When your Latina voice tells you: Don’t Die With Your Dreams.”

Peru This Week
“In the film I want to show transformation from dis-empowerment, making the leap to a person, a Latina, who can succeed in the United States and inspire other Latinos and Peruvians and Mexicans and those from all over the World.”

BBC Outlook Interview (3rd story @ 26:43)Untitled-1-300x100
“The former punk from Peru, Mabel Valdiviezo went looking for a new life in the United States. But without papers, things didn’t work out as she had hoped, and it took her nearly two decades to find her way home.”

CJRadio Interview
“I think the hardest thing for a human being no matter where you come from is to be without a family, without your parents and without our siblings.”

The Broad Side Guest Blogger
“Soon after my arrival, I became an undocumented immigrant on an expired visa. Everything changed then. I had no right to be, no right to exist.”



May 27 2015 6:30 pm – 9 pm

LAM Inspire: Opportunity


June 23 2015   1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Preview screening at UC Berkeley’s 10th Summer Institute on Migration and Global Health.


“Valdiviezo’s story, and those of other immigrant women, reinforces the link between migration and mental health”
Xotchil Castañeda, Director, UC Berkeley’s Health Initiative of the Americas


“An utterly moving & powerful film”
Berkeley Film Foundation

“‘Prodigal Daughter’ is a beautiful, compelling and insightful story that is both personal and universal, opening the door to conversation about largely unspoken and difficult issues. The North Carolina Farmworker Health Program is excited to begin our 2015 annual statewide training for health outreach professionals with a screening of the film followed by a discussion and workshops. We believe the film that Mabel has created will aid in deepening our understanding of farmworker families’ experiences with mental health, and will strengthen our efforts to creatively and compassionately address these issues in our work.”
Mary Johnson Rockers, MSW, Farmworker Health Operations Specialist, NC Farmworker Health Program, NC DHHS Office of Rural Health and Community Care


“Anyone who teaches in the Latino community should watch ‘Prodigal Daughter’. The film is wonderful tool to understand the complex process immigrants go through when adapting to a new culture and being a woman beyond stereotypes”
Adriana Briff, Educator for Students with Special Needs


“This is truly an outstanding piece of work that captures your interest, makes your heart reach out to Mabel and her family, and enables you to enjoy her achievements, success, and search for a positive closure to her life-long family tragedies.”
Walter and Herlita Cato from Sacramento.


“This movie is a parable for our times, the diaspora from country to country, from the rural areas to the big city. It is lively and approachable. The camera work on the photos is seamlessly done not at all ostentatious, quite elegant.”

 –Judy from San Francisco

Buy The Film

­­License For Educational and non-profit organizations

Prodigal Daughter
(Mabel Valdiviezo; 2016, Peru/USA)

Prodigal Daughter is the inspiring story of a Latina woman who discovers a new path for life in the face of U.S. immigration policies, family isolation and trauma.

Ideal for classes and conferences on:

  • Immigration studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Mental Health
  • Women’s Studies
  • Art Therapy
  • Cultural Studies


Pre-Order Now

Note: A pre-release 45 minute version is available now. Final version will be shipped in 2016
Educational Package Includes:

  • DVD or streaming version of film
  • Subtitles in English/Spanish
  • Discussion guide
  • Educator License with Public Performance Rights (PPR)


DVD for Universities, Colleges & Institutions ($350) ORDER
Streaming License – 5 Years, Institutional ($350) ORDER
DVD, K-12 Classroom & Public Libraries ($100) ORDER

For purchase orders or to pay by check, email Mabel Valdiviezo at


Invite Filmmaker/subject Mabel Valdiviezo to your event, conference or classroom


Mabel ValdiviezoOn a mission to empower women and immigrants, Mabel Valdiviezo is a filmmaker, visual artist and alumni of the Sundance Producers Conference who creates compelling films about gender, ethnic and cultural issues. She routinely gets standing ovations when speaking to audiences from San Francisco to Peru.


“Mabel is very ‘at home’ in front of an audience. She speaks from her heart, sharing her colorful story with deep sincerity, humility and compassion. One cannot help but feel both moved by the telling of her personal life experiences and inspired by her courage to empower others.”
Sahina, Founder, Pathways to Inner Peace


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More info / Questions:


Mabel Valdiviezo