Movie Short Review: ‘Welcome Back’

Greetings again from the darkness. “They will kill me.” That’s the gut-wrenching plea for mercy Rosa (Joselyn Gallardo) makes to the ICE Officer as the ankle monitor is removed. Rosa and her young daughter Sophia (Maria Lalama Noboa) are at a United States airport awaiting their flight to Venezuela. Rosa is being deported back to one of the most dangerous countries in the world … especially for her.

It’s been 5 years since Rosa fled Venezuela after the protests she was involved in turned violent. The oppressive government regime is even harsher now, and she’s convinced her life is in danger if it’s discovered she has returned. Black market ID’s for Rosa and Sophia get them through security and allow for a reuniting with Rosa’s sister (Diana Abouijian), whose flamboyant style contrasts with her reserved sibling.

Rosa is trying to get to Columbia for safety, and all Sophia wants is a return to the United States, and the only life she’s ever known. This is Tiffany Kontoyiannis’ seventh short film, and it’s 20 minutes that remind us deportation can be a death sentence for some. The bus trip to Columbia allows for a life-changing moment for mother and daughter, emphasized with a secret gesture of love. The film ends with startling statistics of Venezuela and the associated danger for those living there or returning.

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