Anna Feder felt bringing a camera was the best way to participate in protests against the U.S. Immigration of Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract with the Wyatt Detention Center in Providence in 2019.
By no means a greenhorn to social justice, the director of programming for the Bright Light Film Series was not expecting to make a documentary about a correctional officer hitting several protestors with a van, and the violent aftermath that ensued.
The documentary, Never Again, Para Nadie, is co-directed and produced by Feder, Dan Frank, MA ’19, and Justin Reifert, with additional work by colorist Will Rogan ’18. A picture lock cut of the 20-minute documentary will be screened at the UFVA virtual conference on July 30. Feder is very grateful that Emerson College allowed them to use the College’s equipment and facilities to make the documentary.
Feder heard about ongoing protests by a Jewish-led organization, Never Again Action, at the center. As a non-religious Jew, Feder was excited to protest in solidarity with the Jewish and immigrant communities. She reached out to Frank to let him know about the protests. Both were there that night.
“It was shocking. Folks were talking about leaving the protest. No one was going to get arrested. We were in the guest parking lot … talking about getting dinner, when the truck came,” said Feder.
“People were sitting down. It was several hours into the protest. There had been a protest at a park, and then a march. I didn’t even wait for Dan [to go to where the truck had struck people]. I knew there were kids there, a person in a wheelchair.”
No one was hurt badly by the truck, although some people went to the hospital. Pepper spray from the detention center guards also sent others to the hospital.
“Then the driver stands with his buddies. The protestors were on public property on a sidewalk, I’m not sure what jurisdiction [the guards] had to pepper spray civilians,” said Feder.
The aftermath resulted in the driver resigning, and no charges were brought against any of the guards. International attention was garnered by the incident, shining continued light on the treatment of immigrants in American detention centers.
“The desire to make this documentary is to aid the cause that we are all folks who deeply believe in this cause of, essentially, ending ICE and freeing all people from detention – and that immigration is not a crime,” said Feder.