Short Film ‘First Time Home’ Inspires and Illuminates


Photo taken from EWU Stories

By Hanna Alexis Yulo, Reporter

“We do remember you. We want to return, we have not forgotten you. That’s how it is.”

The Easterner sat down with EWU’s Noemi Librado Sanchez to discuss First Time Home, a short film that sheds light on the reality of migrant workers in America. The film follows Librado Sanchez, Esmirna Librado, Esmeralda Ventura, and Heriberto Ventura, as they record their journey to Oaxaca, Mexico to visit their ill grandfather and get in touch with their Indigenous Triqi roots. Filmed in 2016 amidst the chaos of the Trump presidential campaign, the 30-minute movie manages to capture the reality of migrant workers as well as their relentless spirit to not only endure but to thrive. 

The film starts off with a wobbly camera panning over to a muddy field, the horizon feels seemingly endless as it blurs over with fog and mist before the screen switches to a contrasting image of a warm family celebrating over a birthday cake. In just the first couple of minutes, the short film allows the audience to empathize and understand the individuals on screen, showing the core values of all human beings; hard work and family. 

“My parents worked in the fields for the longest time,” said Librado Sanchez, “Like, they would break their backs or work overnight. Literally, work all night to be able to provide for us. And the pay isn’t even good either, you know. They are willing to go through that just to bring the food to our table.”

First Time Home was filmed during the 2016 presidential election, a time when the Mexican community was surrounded by discrimination and anti-immigrant discourse fueled by former President Donald Trump. Librado Sanchez hopes for those who hold prejudices to see the film with an open mind.

“Sometimes us as humans don’t want to hear something we don’t agree on, but sometimes we just have to hear it. Because that’s what life is. You kinda just wanna be a little more open-minded and know that many of these come here to find better.” 

Along with experiencing discrimination as migrant workers in America, Librado Sanchez also spoke about the stigma surrounding Oaxacans and how her parents inspired her to be proud of her culture.

“It’s hard to not be proud once you really understand the value and the strength they had to have to get here.”

First Time Home has received several awards and mentions including the Rising Voices Award of the Portland Film Festival, the Documentary Short Award from imagiNATIVE, and an honorable mention for Best Documentary at the Global Film Festival Awards. Librado Sanchez was only 12 years old when she started working on the film and is now experiencing her first year at EWU. Despite her age, she already holds plans for future projects including a possible children’s book. The film is just the beginning for Librado Sanchez as she hopes to continue to inspire and motivate others to be proud of their culture and differences

“I always wanted to be someone who can let others know you’re not alone and that there’s ways out of it.”

Librado Sanchez hopes that the audience takes away one message after watching the film

“Be proud of who you are.”