Student Blog: Alex Alviar

Alex Alviar (BFA Directing 2018) is going back to Colombia to use his skills as a filmmaker and tell a very important story about the Colombian refugee crisis. You can help support his Indiegogo here:


I was born in Colombia and moved to New York City about 5 years ago. I haven’t been back to Colombia until now, to film my thesis film. When I left I had no experience or idea on filmmaking. Coming back to do prep and shooting in about a month with a completely different vision of the world is a very striking experience for me. Cali, the city I was raised in, is the setting for my thesis film, Tierra. To be able to write this script, I had to reminisce on my childhood and what I saw around me. Forced displacement is a disease that Colombia has been suffering for about 60 years and has left around 7 million people without a home. From the window in my childhood room I have seen the bus terminal filled with families coming here with what little they owned on their backs, with eyes wide open, taken by this vast foreign city. This contrasts with their past rural homes where they lived off their land and were surrounded by nature, living a modest lifestyle.

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That’s what Tierra is about. Tierra takes place from the point of view of an 8 year old girl, who sees her sister’s downfall and her mother’s willful ignorance towards the reality they are facing. My intention with this film is to not only display the reality that refugees in Colombia face on an everyday basis, but what women with little to no income go through in this country, or the decisions and threats they face, and how this affects them. Shooting in Colombia is a completely unknown territory for me. I’m using what I’ve learned through my 3 years at School of Visual Arts (SVA), but most of the elements I am facing are not taught in any school. Youjust go with your gut and learn from experience. This film is an adventure for all of the crew involved, that will most definitely leave a mark that will stick with us for a lifetime to come.

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We are working very hard to achieve a sense of urgency and realism. The locations we are going to be shooting are right where a family of refugees would find shelter at. These are areas where the police won’t even go in and for us to be able to enter we need to work with and make contributions to the community of these neighborhoods. It’s eerie and thrilling at the same time to make decisions that will give our story what it needs to become a reality.


One of our main concerns right now is our budget. We are working very hard to get everything we need to make this possible and we are using a platform, which is Indigo-go to raise our funds. We need the help of the likeminded community and people who also believe this stories should be told to help us tell it. We want to show refugees as people and shed light on children’s and women’s rights. These are situations that happen all over the world. The refugee crisis goes beyond Colombia. Although Colombia is the second largest country to have an influx of internally displaced persons standing next to Syria on the list. This is an issue that needs to be faced. This is one story of many.


Filed Under: Student Blog