The 9 to 5
The 9 to 5, 2017. Color, digital video, 4:27 minutes.
“The 9 to 5” is a short documentary about an undocumented filmmaker in Los Angeles traversing his surroundings – his neighborhood, the mall at which he works, a film set – in order to come to terms with the ugliness and beauty of his world. It began as a small documentary prompt for a class at UC Berkeley but grew into something much more significant and timely. My primary collaborator, Gabriel Santos, and I discussed ways in which we could subvert the traditional, “feel-good” social documentary. It was only upon the discovery of our subject, who will remain anonymous, that we found ourselves in the eye of the storm that is the political discourse around undocumented immigrants.
Our goal was to capture a truthful portrait of an extraordinary individual while also allowing his voice to blossom as a mouthpiece for a repressed collective voice. As filmmakers, our greatest resource for understanding our subject’s hopes and dreams was our own passion for cinema, one that he shares. We settled on shooting without traditional interviews, instead walking through real streets, discussing, understanding, disagreeing, and synthesizing our own conclusions on what it is to be undocumented.