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Directed by Set Hernandez Rongkilyo

COVER/AGE examines the lack of healthcare access for undocumented immigrants in California, and how two undocumented individuals are advocating to fight this exclusion. One protagonist is Emma, an elderly Pilipina caregiver, who has spent over a decade providing care for others. Over the course of the film, we see Emma get ready early in the morning to care for an elderly patient who is not much older than her. Ironically, while Emma was providing care to insured, ailing patients, she herself was battling both illness and the U.S. health system which excluded her simply because of her immigration status. Emma’s story highlights how undocumented domestic workers are integrated in the healthcare industry, but they themselves don’t have access to the care they deserve in order to maintain their own wellness.

The other protagonist is Héctor (they/them), one of the young adult founders of the immigrant health movement in California. Through the film, we learn of their important activism and organizing, from mobilizing around healthcare with legislators in the state capitol to training other undocumented immigrants to advocate for themselves. While Héctor is engaged in the bigger realm of legislative transformation, their personal journey unveils a deeper analysis of what health justice means: Beyond the need to visit the doctor’s office, access to wellness for all communities must include a more holistic healing that recognizes traumas communities have accrued from their lived experiences.

As Emma and Héctor navigate the complex health policy system, critical gaps in a health system that excludes undocumented migrants reveal the profound and harmful impact on the community. At the same time, steadfast organizing by community leaders and advocates underscores the resilience of immigrants in the face of these challenges. As the conversation around universal healthcare continues to gain momentum on the national stage, this film highlights the urgency of expanding healthcare access to undocumented people by centering
the unwavering voices of immigrant health justice leaders.

Director Biography: Set Hernandez Rongkilyo is an undocumented immigrant filmmaker and community organizer whose roots come from Bicol, Philippines. Since 2010, they have been organizing around migrant justice issues from education equity to deportation defense. They are the co-founder of the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective which seeks to advance media justice by tackling the inequities that undocumented filmmakers face. With short films televised, featured, and awarded in film festivals across the U.S., Set works on projects that explore the intersectional issues impacting undocumented immigrants. Set is the Impact Videos Producer at the California Immigrant Policy Center where they produced COVER/AGE about healthcare justice for undocumented elders. They also served as Assistant Editor and Impact Producer for PJ Raval’s documentary, Call Her Ganda, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Co-presented by: Chinese for Affirmative Action


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These two films showcase inspirational people who are fighting the good fight.