"We The People: An American Dream and Nightmare"

LINCOLN -- "We The People: An American Dream and Nightmare," a documentary on immigration, will be shown at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center at 313 North 13th Street on Oct. 23 at 7:00 p.m. "We The People" looks at legal and illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States and the popular and political responses to the issue. The showing will be followed by a panel discussion. Admission is free and the presentation is open to the public.

Luis Peón-Casanova, an assistant professor of advertising at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications, produced the 55-minute documentary as part of his thesis project. A Mexican immigrant, Peón took the oath of American citizenship on Dec. 7, 2007.

"In light of the recent terrorist attacks on the U.S. and the debate surrounding the value of immigration," Peón-Casanova said, "I feel a responsibility to communicate my experience and the experiences of those who are struggling to realize their own American dream."

The documentary gives a brief historical background about the long history of immigration in the United States and looks at two central issues of legal and illegal immigration following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11 - national security and immigration reform. Peón interviewed scholars, politicians, citizens, and immigration officials and immigrants. The documentary offers social commentary about the issues surrounding immigration in the run-up of a presidential election year.

Peón-Casanova has taught at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 2002. He teaches courses in photojournalism, advanced television production and communication graphics. Peón represents the J school as the coordinator for the Visual Literacy Committee, a designated program of excellence at UNL, with three other colleges: the College of Architecture, the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Peón-Casanova's international experience includes productions with public television's WBGH "Frontline" in Mexico City (1988); a 30-minute documentary on early childhood education in China (1993); a 30-minute documentary for a European consortium, Visions of Democracy (1998); an independent 30-minute educational documentary about Ireland (1999); and completed the production of two educational television programs, one in Brazil and one in Italy (2001). In 2006, Peón developed an international media photography course in Provence, France, at the College of Journalism. He traveled to Cuba in 2005 to conduct pre-production research for a documentary that will begin production in partnership with the UNL Department of Anthropology in 2008.

Peón-Casanova has received numerous awards, including three CINE Golden Eagle Awards, two awards from the Central Education Network (CEN) for Best Program in a Series, a U.S. Film Festival Award for Creative Excellence, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) award for Best in Educational Category, and a Nebraska Broadcasters Association (NBA) Silver Award.

Peón-Casanova has a Master of Arts degree in education from the University of Nebraska (2008) and a Bachelor of Science degree in communications with an emphasis in filmmaking from the University of Texas at Austin (1986).

For more information, contact:
Luis Peón-Cassanova, assistant professor of advertising, (402) 472-3055, lpeon-casanova1@unl.edu
Dan Ladely, director, Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, (402) 472-9100, dladely1@unl.edu
Marilyn Hahn, communications specialist, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, (402) 472-3041, mhahn1@unl.edu