Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Filmmaker shows his identity

Carlos Ruiz
“I want to remind people how beautiful they are.” Armando Ibanez, director of “Undocumented Tales” talks about his struggles coming out as a filmmaker, undocumented student, and queer. Ibanez hopes to inspire others to find their voice.

Armando Ibanez, film major and director of the web series, “Undocumented Tales” grew up concealing his secret of being an undocumented student and his sexual orientation as queer.

Like many immigrants, Ibanez left Mexico with his family in order to escape poverty and to find a better life in the United States.

After spending the first 18 years of his life on the other side of the border, Ibanez focused on learning about the new customs as he faced the struggle of finding his identity in both the social and legal aspect.

“The first thing that I was told was that if you have goals forget about them,” Ibanez said. “The only thing you are going to do in this country is work, work, work and don’t get in trouble. Maybe learn English, maybe get a better job and that’s it.

“So I didn’t question it, I accepted it and I forgot about my goals, even though I wanted to do something with my life.”

Ibanez would then spend his first ten years in the country in the food industry, concealing his legal status from his friends and acquaintances while dealing with his identity as a gay person.

In 2010 he was exposed to the movement of undocumented citizens on television and social media.

Ibanez said with a chuckle, “That’s something that I never thought that I was gonna see on TV so I started joining with all of these protests and becoming friends in this. And I realized that many of the activists identify themselves as undocumented and queer.

“At the time I never thought I was never gonna come out as undocumented and queer. When I started meeting them and seeing them […] I can become like them. I want to be like them.”

After learning more about the activists and their agenda, Ibanez decided to enroll into Cerritos College as a film major.

He expressed that it was embarrassing to explain his major openly due to a Mexican’s perception of film and the arts as a luxury for the privileged. However, the willingness to contribute to change and to create a better future motivated him come out as an undocumented queer man.

“I never thought I was going to be out the closet,” Ibanez said. “My whole process was trying to find a voice of who I was and I knew the response will not go well because I came from a religious family. Many people are disown or ashamed when coming out the closet, especially in the the Latin community.”

As Ibanez worked hard on his education and his fight for change, he faced an emotional roller coaster from the shift in the political climate.With the constant worry of hiding and fearing for his future regardless of how open he was, he fell into depression and experiencing a panic attack for the first time.

While he was looking for professional help, a friend of his exposed him to a popular YouTube series called “Awkward Black Girl.”

Issa Ray’s show then inspired him to look for a creative outlet to tell his story, eventually leading to the creation of “Undocumented Tales.”

Ibanez’s series is about a young man who works as a server in Los Angeles pressured by society to lie about his legal status as an undocumented immigrant. In addition, the young man must also lie to his family about his sexual identity as a gay man.

The series not only became viral from previews, but also gained a following from the undocumented community.

“This is the first time undocumented people seem to embrace life in a show,” Ibanez said. “I want people to fell represented and I want to remind people how beautiful we are.”

“Undocumented Tales” features a cast and crew that are also undocumented and/or in the LGBTQ community, trying to capture the authenticity of the narrative and the characters of the show.

The series also focused on current events such as DACA, same sex marriage, immigration reform and political movements. One scene in particular, showcases how relationships can be affected by revealing the true identity of an individual when a couple breaks up as a result from one of them being undocumented.

Although relationships and documentation are almost never verbally associated, Ibanez expressed that many viewers relate to the couple demise through their own experiences.

“How we keep resisting change, how characters live through the day, depends on what they [politicians] decide in the White House,” he said when explaining the connection between the series and politics.

Ibanez hopes “Undocumented Tales” will help Latino families understand about family acceptance.



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About the Contributors
Carlos Martinez
Carlos Martinez, College Life Editor
Carlos Martinez Jr. is the College Life editor at TalonMarks. He is a Journalism major as well as doing some drawing and designs as a hobby. His goal is to get more involved in the media as a reporter and an editor. 
Carlos Ruiz
Carlos Ruiz, Managing Editor
Carlos Ruiz is the Managing Editor for Talon Marks. He admires photography, and even launched his own website and has dedicated his Instagram to his work. His dream job is always changing, but most recently, he would like to travel the world taking photos, or something having to do with photojournalism. He’s hopeful to continue working on a newspaper staff at the CSU he decides to attend.  
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Filmmaker shows his identity