Traces of Shadows




This experimental documentary explores the migrants’ perception of the U.S. immigration bureaucracy and the unexpected subjective risks it creates.

Director’s Statement

The original concept for the film was to make a short documentary about undocumented Mexican immigrants in the U.S. and their fear of deportation.

I was very interested in this topic because it was during my academic exchange at the department of sociology at Cornell University that Trump announced that he would repeal President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.

I wanted to contribute to the debate in a sociological way however I was not sure how to do it. I was very interested in “re-enactment” in documentaries and I asked myself if and how I could use it in a sociological film. During my time at Cornell, I met with sociologist Asad L. Asad (now Assistant Professor at Stanford University) who was working on immigration. I found his work very compelling. He conducted a great number of interviews with both documented and undocumented migrants in Texas and because he was very charismatic, I thought that he would do well on screen. Sociological research has been very wary about protecting the anonymity of individuals. In qualitative research, such as ethnography or interviews, individuals are always anonymised. I then realised that re-enactment could be an interesting avenue for presenting real sociological research without affecting or putting in danger the subjects’ lives. I decided to combine several real interviews to create a narrative that could be conveyed on screen.


Director: Giacomo Ecce

Interview: Asad L. Asad

With: Lange Navarro, Luis Delgadillo.

Duration: 10 min 38 sec

Awards / Official Selection

Sociologist Asad L. Asad

Director’s Bio

Giacomo Ecce is an independent filmmaker based in the UK. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the Free University of Brussels, and a master’s degree in Sociology from Geneva University. He is currently completing a PhD in Sociology at the University of Oxford. Giacomo started making experimental short films during his undergraduate studies.