When filmmaker and artist Mabel Valdiviezo reunites with her family in Peru after sixteen years of silence, she decides to reveal her dark and painful past as an immigrant in the U.S. Diagnosed with stage IV cancer, and pouring her soul’s secrets into her art, Mabel must find a way to heal her broken family ties before it is too late.
Deeply rooted in the lived experience of Latina immigrant women, Prodigal Daughter shines a light on the issues of family reconnection, gendered migration, and mental health, an overlooked perspective in the national immigration debate.
Personal documentary filmmaking is a site of redress and an agent of cultural change.
I seek to subvert the mainstream depiction of immigrant women as victims, heroes, and threats, and instead focus on the agency and resilience of everyday migrant workers.
Artistically unifying the film over the course of the story, my artwork is a powerful metaphor, providing a commentary on empowerment and resilience. Vibrant and intimate in execution, these paintings become vehicles for transformative art and cultural healing. They provide the viewer with a sense of the agency and courage that immigrants carry despite the social forces that pull them apart.
My journey might be unique in its particulars, but its essence is shared by millions of Latina and other immigrant women who have been separated from their families in their struggle to seek out a better life, pursue a life of meaning and purpose, or simply to support their own families.
By exploring these issues through an intimate yet transnational lens, “Prodigal Daughter” will offer a space for reflection, dialogue, and community healing, building bridges of understanding among immigrant women, families, advocates, educators, and policymakers.
Mabel is an award-winning Indigenous Latinx filmmaker, multidisciplinary artist, and alumna of the Sundance Producers Conference. Utilizing a poetic vocabulary, her work explores transnational migration, gender equality, mental health, and spirituality. Mabel is a 2022 fellow of the Gotham Documentary Lab and her work has been supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Fleishhacker Foundation. Her film credits include Carlos Baron, Poeta Pan, documentary short, PBS/KQED (director/producer); The Water’s Muse, experimental short (director/producer); Sands of Silence, feature documentary, PBS World (associate producer); River Webs, PBS (feature editor); Women with Altitude, (feature editor). Her narrative short Soledad Is Gone Forever screened at Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and received the Women in Film Emerging Filmmaker Award. Mabel is the founder of Haiku Films and Arts 4 Healing. Mabel is a member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Undocumented Filmmakers Collective, FWD-Doc, and NALIP.
Sara Maamouri is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and editor who has explored a diverse range of topics for over 20 years. Her work touches on social, educational, and political issues, from a teacher and students performing under extraordinary circumstances (ITVS funded The Music’s Gonna Get You Through, 2010) to rebuilding a life in a former war zone (Amal’s Garden, 2012). She edited We Are Not Princesses (premiered at Doc NYC 2018), and the Peabody Award-winning film The Judge (premiered at TIFF 2017 and won the Best Bay Area Documentary Feature at SFFILM Festival 2018). A multilingual Tunisian educated in New York and California, Sara brings cultural sensitivity to her editing, production, and story development, creating impact-focused narratives to attract and engage rapidly evolving audiences. Her recent films include Black Mothers Love & Resist (SFIFF 2022), directed by Débora Silva Souza and Clarissa’s Battle (HRWFF NYC 2022), directed by Tamara Perkins.
Maria is a Venezuelan-born Emmy nominated editor and producer based in San Diego. Maria’s major editing credits and awards include Signing Our Way to Freedom (2018), Best Documentary, San Diego Film Festival; Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage (2017), nominated to Best Documentary Feature at the 32nd Imagen Awards; The Price of Renewal (2006), Best Documentary Editing Nominee, Sacramento International Film Festival, (as part of the PBS documentary series California and The American Dream); Remaking American Medicine (2006), Cine Golden Eagle Award for PBS; Piragua, Best Documentary, IV National Film Festival; Angeles Desterrados, Special Award, International Film/Video Festival; and Buscando América and Crónica Anónicas, a documentary series for HBO. She received her bachelor’s Degree in Social Communications and a masters degree in Television, both in Venezuela.
Mario a Brazilian-born director and cinematographer based in Oakland, California. His feature fiction debut, Freeland, co-directed with Kate McLean, was supported by IFP and SFFILM, and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. The film, which Furloni also shot, premiered at SXSW in 2020 and won several awards. He is the cinematographer and co-producer of the critically-acclaimed documentary The Return, nominated for Emmy and Peabody awards. His naturalistic camera work can also be seen in the Oscar-nominated documentary Crip Camp. Furloni has directed a number of documentary and fiction projects, including Pot Country (USA, 2011), Someone is Happy Somewhere (Brazil, 2016, official selection for San Francisco International Film Festival, and the Havana International Film Festival), Gut Hack (USA 2017, SXSW NYT OpDocs series), and First Friday (USA, 2013, PBS’ AfroPop). He has a master’s degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Tupac is a cinematographer, journalist and documentary filmmaker with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. He has produced documentaries and shorts videos for Frontline World, Time/CNN, Yes Magazine, and LPB from Mexico, India, Cuba, Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia. Tupac’s films include The Little Prince of the Andes, premiered at Al Jazeera, Witness, and Bolivian Baroque, a 42-minute documentary that aired on European television. His award-winning documentary, On The Road With Evo, is a close look at Evo Morales the person and the politician, as well as an examination of the political conditions that brought him into power.
Jorge was the most celebrated Director of Photography working in contemporary Peru. He left an impressive body of work in feature films and independent documentaries. Jorge 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, Jorge was assistant director and cameraman in Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. He shot for National Geographic, BBC, Travel Channel, Discovery, and Paramount.
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.
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 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. Mitch also produced New American Girls, a web series about (Dreamers) undocumented immigrants for LPB.
As a documentary filmmaker and impact producer, Chelo orchestrated her Through the Wall short and Sands of Silence feature documentary worldwide impact campaigns, including screenings, Q&A and panels around the world from Sidney to Tijuana; universities from Yale to Oxford to Buenos Aires and Hiroshima; women’s rights, human rights ,and immigrant rights organizations; and the United Nations. Chelo worked as an impact producer for Nasrin, on the jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, taking it to the European Parliament, and to millions of Arab and Iranian households. She is the lead impact producer for From Here, on immigration, and racism (The WORLD Channel/America Reframed) and impact consultant for Storming Caesars Palace on universal basic income, (Independent Lens), helping bring the film to Capitol Hill ahead of the midterm elections.
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“How Immigrant Pain is Healed Through the Art of Mabel Valdiviezo”
“Can A Latina Filmmaker Crowdfund A New Narrative On Immigration?”
The Huffington Post
“How to Reignite Your Personal Power”
“Empowering documentary explores migration and mental health”
Expressive Art Workshops
“Mabel Valdiviezo: Empowering women and immigrants through film, story, and art journaling”
“Prodigal Daughter brings a new perspective to the immigration debate: the mental health challenges shaping immigrant communities today.”
“When your Latina voice tells you: Don’t Die With Your Dreams.”
BBC Outlook Interview (3rd story @ 26:43)
“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.”
Women’s Voices KZYX&Z Radio Interview
“Healing through Art & Film”
“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.”
“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
“‘Prodigal Daughter’ is a compelling and insightful story that is both personal and universal, opening the door to conversation about largely unspoken and difficult issues. This film will aid in deepening our understanding of farmworker families’ experiences with mental health, and will strengthen our efforts to compassionately address these issues in our work.”
–Mary Johnson Rockers, MSW, NC DHHS Office of Rural Health and Community Care
“Anyone who teaches in the Latino community should watch ‘Prodigal Daughter’. The film is a 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
“Mabel brings to our doorstep the harsh realities that life can throw at us. While she also offers us the reflective doorway to the compassion-heart of kindness where we can meet the full richness of life while dealing with difficulties.”
–Rik Center, Executive Director, Mindfulness Care Center