Osvaldo Ozuna (in white), 27, watches fireworks with his family during a Fourth of July celebration.
Ozzy and his parents took in his three nephews and niece when his sister was deported. He works with them to foster their creativity as a way to deal with the trauma of being separated from their mother. Ozzy is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient and an essential worker at Trader Joe's, a grocery chain, but his true passion is filmmaking.
Ozuna is Mexican-American filmmaker born in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. At age ten, his family made the difficult decision to migrate to the United States due to the lack of financial and educational opportunities in their homeland. Santa Monica College selected his first film, MUNECAS, for production. It was while he was finishing the film that his sister was deported. MUNECAS became a success, and went on to win several awards in the midst of a divisive political climate on immigration. Now, Ozuna is finishing his second film, called INK.
''All that experience with feeling like I didn't truly belong with the Mexican culture, the Mexican-America culture, or especially the America culture, because of who I was, it made me a very observant and introverted person. It created an interest in me in trying to figure out what identity is and what role culture has in shaping our identity and who we become.''
''When DACA happened, it was a big boost. Prior to DACA, I was working at a couch factory. It was the only thing I could get with no documents. It was working long hours, less than minimum wage and just being treated like a work animal.''
Ozzie speaks about the frustration about not being able to attend the film festival in which his own film own best student film: ''That's when I realized, a lot of us DACA recipients, our careers are going, and this is no longer enough for us. We have been here all our lives. We've contributed in many different ways. We deserve to be, if not citizens, at least residents. We deserve to live freely and enjoy the careers we have chosen.''
Ozzie speaks about the COVID-19 pandemic: ''For a period of time it was very uncertain and scary because I didn't know what the risks were, my dad is diabetic. There are a lot of people who would come in the store and before all the regulations and we knew how to deal with it, it was really chaotic. There were extremely long lines. Sometimes I would be on my break and I would get little panic attacks. Am I making to little of this, am I making to much of this, should I just be smart and stay home.''
Ozzie speaks about his nephews and niece as well as separations at the border, the subject of his new film, INK: ''We still have the hope of reuniting them with their mom soon. Because that was something that was taken away from them at such a young age and that no kid should have to go through. It is so sad to have seen that recently in such a mass scale.''