If you have ever watched a documentary film about Latinos in Miami, there's a good chance it focused on a specific group of immigrants — like Cubans of the '50s. But have you ever seen a film that represents our diverse city's entire Latino community? Miami Our City: The Documentary, a debut for director Jose Navas, aims to do just that.
A couple of years ago, Navas, the son of immigrants, believed his vocation was to be a real-estate mogul in the 305. However, after several years of making a lot of money, the market crashed. He found himself at a crossroads.
He realized he needed to follow his passion — movie production — to make a living. So in 2012, he started Flick House Studios, where he produced music videos and commercials. Yet Navas wanted to create something more meaningful for Miami, especially for his Latino community. So the idea for Miami Our City was born.
The film covers both past and future generations of Latinos. There are the hardships of the first wave of Cuban immigrants in the '50s and those of Nicaraguan and Honduran immigrants in the '90s. Then there are the scores of immigrants who continue to make the trek here.
"This is not about music; this is not about one person. This is about all of us," the filmmaker says. "This is about the Latino determination, the Latino ambition, and, most important, what we've created in this city. We literally built this city."
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The film features interviews with Latinos of all backgrounds, genders, ages, and professions, including DJ Laz and Ivy from Power 96. Both have helped shape the city we live in today. "This movie isn't about Cubans or Nicas or Salvadoreños; this movie is about all of us as a whole," Navas says.
The film also emphasizes the contributions Hispanic women make to Miami. "Ivy is in a male-dominated industry [radio] — you know, the DJ Lazes and the DJ Khaleds."
And best of all, the film is inspired by the city of Hialeah — yes, Hialeah. "When I tell people there's no place like Hialeah, they start laughing," Navas says. "But that city is built and run by Latinos. I don't think there's any city in the country like that."
After a year and a half of production, Navas hopes to release the film sometime this summer. The filmmaker says he is working with a third-party distribution company, and the feature has already been accepted by Netflix.
No release date has yet been set, but he promises the film will make it onto your tablet, laptop, and smartphone soon. In the meantime, you can watch Miami Our City by visiting miamidocumentary.com.