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A film done at kids' expense

August 29, 2009

Re "Young and Desperate," by Reed Johnson, Aug. 22: Please explain this to me: At a detention center in southern Mexico, filmmaker Rebecca Cammisa found Jose, an "underage refugee" Honduran boy who "was alone, scared and crying." Cammisa spent money contacting the child's parents and to obtain insurance.

Why? Not because Cammisa was going to help the kid or his parents to ensure that Jose would receive an education, medical care or job training in Honduras; or persuade Jose or his parents that (with her financial help) he could accomplish something in his native country. To the contrary. Cammisa wanted to make a film.

In this self-serving effort, she was going to follow this juvenile (and two others) on a dangerous journey of illegal immigration to the United States, which she knew would hold "constant danger of falling off trains and being killed or losing limbs." And so, while claiming to put "the children's welfare above their own interests," she and her film crew exposed juveniles to great dangers.

Cammisa made an award-winning film at the children's expense. Are we supposed to praise this behavior? Cammisa says, "The film had to be made at any cost." The cost was endangering the children. It sounds to me like the type of aiding and abetting child endangerment that is criminal in the United States.

Jeremiah Flanigan

Long Beach

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