Immigrant film screening draws crowd in Fleischmanns

By Julia Green
More than 230 people turned out to view “Bienvenidos a Fleischmanns: An Immigrant Community in Rural America,” a documentary film by Jessica Vecchione that was screened at La Cabaña Mexican Restaurant in Fleischmanns on Saturday.
Roughly 70 people attended the afternoon screening while more than 160 were on hand for the evening showing.
“It was pretty overwhelming,” Vecchione said. “I got some great feedback. People really liked it. And I got some great feedback from the Hispanic community; it was an overwhelming experience for me.”
Vecchione has also received requests for screenings at other places, including Lucky Dog Farms in Hamden, the Bright Hill Press in Treadwell and the Andes Library. Area schools including Margaretville and Onteora have expressed interest in showing the film, which was also shown at SUNY Oneonta on Monday in conjunction with the school’s student research day.
“Really, the main thing I heard was, ‘I loved the movie,’” Vecchione said. “There were some sections where people had tears in their eyes, which was very touching, especially about the second generation at school in Margaretville. It was very touching to people to hear about how a lot of the kids have struggled and how well they’ve done.
“These stories are great, and they’re pretty touching and emotional.”
Vecchione added that she has received a number of messages from people who said that they were virtually unaware of the existence of issues covered in the documentary, and that one woman even said that she felt like she was “looking into the future.”
“I thought that was really interesting,” Vecchione said.
Martin Morales, owner of the Mi Lupita grocery store in Fleischmanns, offered an introduction to the film before the second showing.
“Martin gave such a nice introduction to the film,” Vecchione said. “This is a really great thing for our community, and it’s showing us, but it’s honestly only showing a little piece of it because it’s a real community that has a lot to offer and a lot of really wonderful characteristics. I hope people will take the chance to get to know their Hispanic neighbors.”
Vecchione added that the Fleischmanns community is planning a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Wagner Field in Fleischmanns on May 2.
“That would be a great follow-up,” she said, “for people who saw the film to go over to the Cinco de Mayo celebration and celebrate with them.”