Immigrants Are Essential Video Portraits

We produced a series of video portraits of Immigrant New Yorkers for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in 2020 and 2021.

The Story

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) is a long-time client of Show the Good. In 2020, they reached out to us with a storytelling opportunity. The goal was to highlight the voices of immigrant New Yorkers making an impact on their communities to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Week in 2020. That was the start of a two-year series, diving into the stories of seven inspiring New Yorkers. 

The Process

In 2020, the project’s filming dates coincided with the weeks leading up to New York City’s first days of COVID-19 stay at home orders. As a result, we spent the editing process in the nascent days of pandemic isolation. During an uncertain time, these stories brought us life.

The first set of videos and a trailer debuted on Instagram and Twitter in April 2020. They featured Elias Gurmu and Sarina Prabasi of Buunni Coffee, Wu Yi Zhuo a gaohu player who entertains commuters in the West 4th Street Subway Station and Christopher Unpezverde Núñez a disabled LGBTQ performance artist.

As Immigrant Heritage Week approached in 2021, the MOIA team asked us to continue the series. This time the focus shifted to highlighting Immigrant New Yorkers making a special impact on their communities during the pandemic. As a result of this focus, the next set of videos featured bakery owner Carlos Espinoza, NYU Langone site director Claudya Verdiner and NYC Health + Hospitals Community Care Nurse Man-Hong Wan. 

This time filming took place during the spring of 2021. At this time masking was mandated in New York City. Our team worked tirelessly to ensure the socially-distant filming dates were safe and successful for everyone involved.

The Result

The two-year series premiered across MOIA’s social platforms and on their website. In summer 2020, the series was turned into a short film for NYC Media and a version of the series aired on New York City’s Taxi TV. 

In 2022 we won a Bronze Anthem Award – the socially focused offshoot of the Webbys – for this series. Watch the full two-year series below. 

Social Good Storytelling, Nonprofit Video, Government Agency Video, Immigrants are Essential