Bianca Fortis is social justice journalist from New York City. She is currently working on a documentary film called “The Deported,” about veterans who are being deported from the United States. The main issue in the documentary is that veterans who are not citizens are subject to deportation if they commit a crime.
The film came about after her friends heard about the issue in passing during school. It would be two years before Fortis became involved.
This didn’t become an issue until the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 was passed. This act changed laws for veterans who were not citizens. The documentary focuses on a small group of people who have been deported to Tijuana, Mexico, but it is not only Mexicans who are being deported. There are several other countries to where veterans have been deported.
The film is still in progress of being produced. Fortis says, “The goal right now is to raise money for an editor, to figure out what to do with the film.” She describes raising money has been the most difficult part of the process. There are grants to apply for, and fundraisers to conduct, but more money is needed. She says their biggest problem is that their work is expensive.
Besides funding, another problem facing "The Deported" is generating interest. But Fortis is not concerned. Fortis says, “My first journalism job was at a small paper at Washington State, and I was proud of my stories. Every week our editor would give us reports on the most popular stories. My stories were never the most popular, but I think if you believe in something enough, it doesn’t matter.”
There are clearly challenges when producing a documentary. The field is competitive, and small film makers are at a great disadvantage. However, Fortis is optimistic about the future of the film. She says, “Issues are everywhere, with eyes and ears opened you hear about the little things going on.”