Keep up-to-date on the story behind the Nora Sandigo documentary, LA GRAN MADRE, here.

Ms. Sandigo Goes to Washington

Nora Sandigo leads her supporters to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Yesterday, we were with Nora Sandigo and over 50 children in Washington, DC as they attended a rally in support of President Obama's executive action.  Nora and the kids drove on a bus for 22 hours from Florida to be there.  They, and thousands of others like them, chose to gather on the steps of the Supreme Court because it was the first day the justices would hear arguments in the the case of TEXAS VS. THE UNITED STATES.

What's the case about?  Good question.  Though we addressed it a bit in our last blog, there are a number of different sites that break it down in detail (we like this one).  Essentially, in November 2014, President Obama issued an executive action that allowed undocumented immigrant parents of US citizen children to live in the United States without fear of deportation as long as they met a series of criteria (one of which is that they have no criminal record).  

The case has been a hot topic of the election year and has created a firestorm on both sides of the aisle, so we expected that yesterday we would see that division come to a head.  What we found, however, was a passionate group that was supportive of the executive action.  It's entirely possible that detractors were there, but despite hours of scouring the crowd for them, we found none.  The signs were supportive, the speeches were lively and the mood was hopeful.

Now, it gets interesting.  The Supreme Court will likely decide the outcome of the case by the end of June.  Since there are only eight justices, it's possible that they'll end in a split-decision, meaning the lower courts ruling to block Obama's action will stand and mixed status families will continue to be separated by immigration.  Even if it is upheld, an executive action only lasts as long as a president does, so when Obama leaves office, the order expires.  The relief offered by his action may very well be temporary if the next president doesn't support it (both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have pledged that they will overturn it; Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have said they'll strengthen it).

For her part, Nora is not waiting to see what happens.  She continues to raise awareness in the media on behalf of the action and is making a plan of what to do to help her children in case the action is blocked.  We're documenting each step of her journey and LA GRAN MADRE will capture the outcome of this fight, no matter what it may be.

The Week Ahead

LA GRAN MADRE offers us the chance to truly embed with a subject, which is something that we've never really had before.  Whether it was due to distance (WE MUST GO) or a story's needs (I AM BIG BIRD), we've never shot as much as this project has allowed.  The opportunities that are presented in this style of shooting are incredible.

For example, a week from today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in UNITED STATES V. TEXAS.  This case will have a huge impact on immigration.  Basically, in 2014, President Obama issued an executive order that allowed undocumented immigrants whose children were born in the United States to remain here without fear of deportation (as long as they didn't have a criminal record).  This executive order was instantly challenged by 26 states (led by Texas) that stated the order was unconstitutional.  The order has made its way through the lower courts and, on April 18, the Supreme Court will tackle the issue.

From Nora's standpoint, this case is huge.  It will impact every single one of her kids, plus hundreds of thousands of others.  She has advocated for the executive action since it was issued and the coming days will be no exception.  Nora has done many things to bring attention to the issue, but this week, she'll be making final preparations to bus 100 children from Florida to DC to show the world the faces of the people who will be impacted by this decision.  It's going to be a powerful display that we're honored to have the chance to capture.

Introducing La Gran Madre

Since we started Copper Pot Pictures, our goal has been to share stories that move us.  It doesn't matter what that story is, it just needs to be something that we connect with.  From BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT to I AM BIG BIRD to WE MUST GO, the stories are all very different, but one thing is the same: we look for stories that inspire hope.


When we first heard about Nora Sandigo, an activist who is the legal guardian to nearly 1,000 US-born children of undocumented immigrants, we knew we had found our next film. When production began and we started embedding with Nora, we were simply blown away by her compassion and dedication.  There are so many layers to what she does, but at the core of everything is love.  She's an inspirational woman to be around.

Nora never knows what each day holds: she does whatever is necessary.  When we film with her, we never know what to expect.  Throughout production of LA GRAN MADRE, we'll do our best to recap amazing moments from the shoot here.  If nothing else, hopefully this production blog will serve as a tribute to the remarkable work Nora is doing.