American University Film Director Carolyn Brown Debuts “The Salinas Project” Documentary at the Carmel International Film Festival

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The Salinas Project follows the lives of four children of Latino, immigrant agricultural workers living in Salinas, California.

Producer/Director Carolyn Brown's film tells the story of Salinas by focusing on the lives of four children from immigrant farm working families.

“My film gives a realistic portrayal of how abundant hope and resilience can defy stereotypes and circumstances,” said Carolyn Brown, Journalism Professor, American University School of Communication.

American University Professor and award winning filmmaker Carolyn E. Brown will host the California premiere of "The Salinas Project" documentary film at The Carmel International Film Festival on Saturday, October 18th, at 2:00 p.m. The documentary follows the lives for four young Latinos from immigrant farm working families as they face social, political and economic obstacles.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the sixth annual Carmel International Film Festival screening of "The Salinas Project" gives a voice to the resilient Latino agricultural community in the Salinas Valley, CA, and helps redefine the region that is best known for its gang problems and fertile fields.

Salinas is about one hour south of the wealthy Silicon Valley and 15 minutes away from the luxurious Pebble Beach golf course. The city is often referred to as the “Salad Bowl of the World” because 80 percent of the nation’s lettuce and artichokes are grown there. Every day, Americans eat produce that is handpicked by immigrant farm workers in this area, but few understand the challenges the farm workers and their children face.

"The Salinas Project" documentary focuses mainly on the immigrant community known as Alisal located on the East Side of Salinas. Residents of Alisal live in an area that is more than 90 percent Latino, with a per capita annual income under $12,000. Immigrant families, who work in the fields, live in cramped, unhealthy conditions due to the high cost of housing in Monterey County, California. Additionally, children of Salinas Valley farm workers often face gang violence and delinquency as part of daily life.

"The Salinas Project" is an expanded exploration of the lives of four young people who are overcoming the social, political and financial constraints that confront many Latinos in America. The film identifies some of the systemic causes of these issues while highlighting the successes of the young Latinos living in Alisal. The documentary also helps viewers understand a community that is often misrepresented in the media as many news stories focus primarily on the menacing gang violence.

“There are many cases of kids in Alisal that defy stereotypes by educating themselves, going to college and bettering themselves,” said Carolyn Brown, Journalism Professor, American University School of Communication. “My film gives a realistic portrayal of how abundant hope and resilience can defy stereotypes and circumstances.”

Brown also examined immigration in her two previous films. "On the Line" looked at Minutemen and the anti-immigration movement in Arizona, while "From the Fields: An American Journey" is a biography of a Chicano journalist and successful NBC reporter who worked in the Salinas Valley fields as a child.

To view the official "The Salinas Project" trailer, please visit and for further information about the documentary, visit

About American University
Located in Washington D.C., American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and more than 140 countries and providing opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.

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Ericka Floyd
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