Before I stood on his shoulders, I sat on his knee.
My Father’s Knee is a cinematic essay about my relationship to my Father, Jesus Mario Contreras Sr. He worked as a manual laborer for a majority of his life, with the dream that my sisters and I wouldn’t have to. His belief that education and opportunity is the key to a fulfilled life is what’s kept immigrants coming to the United States for generations but sons and daughters of new American families don’t always play their part.
The goal of My Fatherʼs Knee is to renew the viewerʼs appreciation of citizenship and education by demonstrating that the American Dream is alive and well. I also invite the viewer to analyze whose shoulders they stand on by taking on the role of someone that took citizenship and education for granted. I hope that this approach will foster a dialogue about what it means to be American and whether our immigration policy reflects our values by showing true citizenry by those denied the rights of citizenship.
This project was selected for the inaugural class of Diverse Voices in Docs, a professional development and mentorship program for emerging documentary filmmakers of color, organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago.