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Pilsen's Proud Traditions Star In New WTTW Documentary [VIDEO]

By Stephanie Lulay | April 20, 2017 8:30am
 Gilberto Sandoval, a budding visual artist, was among a number of Pilsen residents featured in WTTW's new documentary
Gilberto Sandoval, a budding visual artist, was among a number of Pilsen residents featured in WTTW's new documentary "My Neighborhood: Pilsen."
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Daniel Andries

PILSEN — A new documentary that tells the uplifting story of Pilsen through a group of dedicated residents will be unveiled at a special premiere Thursday night in the neighborhood. 

WTTW-Channel 11's "My Neighborhood: Pilsen" aims to give viewers an intimate look inside Pilsen through the voices that serve the neighborhood. The 60-minute documentary, filmed over a year and produced by Emmy-winning producer Dan Andries, will premiere at a special screening at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Benito Juarez Community Academy, 1450 W. Cermak Road. 

The premiere will be followed by a panel discussion with community leaders, including Resurrection Project founder Raul Raymundo. Neighbors can RSVP to attend the screening online. 

After the Thursday night premiere at Juarez, "My Neighborhood: Pilsen" will first air at 7 p.m. April 27 on WTTW HD. The documentary also will be streamed live on wttw.com, on pbs.org, and on PBS station websites throughout the country.

On April 27, the documentary will be followed by a live town hall produced in collaboration with Univision Chicago.

Check out clips from the documentary below: 

Starring Pilsen neighbors 

A story of transformation and perseverance, the PBS documentary explores the intricacies and voices that make up Pilsen's rich tapestry, WTTW executives said. The story follows the neighborhood as it rebounds from challenges in 2016, including the devastating Pilsen arsons that killed one man and left dozens homeless, and the death of artist Gabriel Cisneros. 

The film aims to highlight the culture and community-led activism that make Pilsen great, while touching on themes that include education, health care, housing and immigration.

A historic port of entry for Mexican immigrants, Pilsen is home to more than 30,000 Latino immigrants, locally owned small businesses and beautiful murals and other public art. 

Several of Pilsen's own are featured prominently in the documentary, including: 

• Diana Galicia, a lifelong Pilsen resident who owns La Catrina Cafe

• Gilberto Sandoval, a budding visual artist who works at the National Museum of Mexican Art 

• Alma Silva, an immigrant and mother of four who advocates for immigration reform as a community organizer at St. Pius V Parish

• Anel Sancen, a fellow with Mujeres Latinas en Accion who works to register immigrant voters 

• Carmen Velásquez, co-founder of Alivio Medical Center 

• Raúl Hernández, co-founder of The Resurrection Project 

• Lauren Ángeles, coordinator at Alivio Medical Center

“'My Neighborhood: Pilsen' provides a powerful platform for some of America’s most resilient individuals to share firsthand accounts of trials and triumph. Theirs are stories of inspiration," said Dan Schmidt, WTTW president and CEO. 

Broadcast schedule 

"My Neighborhood: Pilsen" will air: 

• at 7 p.m. April 27 on WTTW HD

• at 10 p.m. April 27 on WTTW Prime

• at 6 a.m. April 28 on WTTW Prime 

• at noon April 28  on WTTW Prime 

• at 1 a.m. April 30 on WTTW HD 

• at 3 p.m. April 30 on WTTW HD

• at 10 a.m. April 30 on Univision WGBO 66

• at 10 a.m. May 7 on WTTW 

The documentary was made possible with help from the Caerus Foundation Inc. and is presented in partnership with the Resurrection Project.

After the premiere night, WTTW will host a series of community conversations on community development across Chicago. 

WTTW also has partnered with Chicago Public Schools and buildOn’s Chicago Service Learning Program on a video production workshop created for high school students. As part of the workshop, the students will produce short documentaries about their neighborhoods, and the films will debut at a youth film festival.