• Golden Globe Awards

I Carry You With Me (Mexico/USA)

In her narrative feature debut, Oscar-nominated documentarian Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp), brings to the screen I Carry You with Me, a poignant and heartfelt film based on the real-life love story of Ivan Garcia and Gerardo Zabaleta. The movie unfolds in three separate timelines: we move seamlessly between our protagonist’s childhood and early adulthood, where a very closeted Ivan (Armando Espitia) first meets Gerardo (Christian Vazquez) at a gay bar, to finally middle age, where the real men play themselves.Set in Mexico and New York, the movie is more than just the scrutiny of two men navigating their relationship. Ewing frames that personal struggle against Ivan’s professional one as well. How does a man, stuck in a restrictive job as a busboy, manage to convince the powers that be of his skill as a chef? Eventually he realizes his dream lies elsewhere and must make the illegal pilgrimage to what he perceives as his promised land: New York. But when Gerardo is held back from legally coming to join him, Ivan discovers the pain of isolation and despair the barriers placed in the path of his aspirations.While one could surmise from Ivan and Gerardo’s eventual success as restaurant owner and chef in New York, that this is a happy-ever-after-tale, Ewing strategically reminds us of the cruelty forced upon undocumented immigrants. As much as Ivan wants to go back to his hometown to visit the son he left behind, he is keenly aware he could be denied entry back. What does he do?The origins of this project go back to 2005 and to a local watering hole in Manhattan where Ewing forged a fast friendship with the two men. It would take seven more years before she really came to know their backstory; when at a restaurant in Sundance, Ivan and Gerardo opened up about their beginnings; sharing with her their journey of love, dreams, migration and sacrifice and disclosing to for the first time, the existence of a son.“How could I have close friends and not know this?” said the filmmaker, who prided herself on research as a documentarian. Unable to shake the newfound information, she called up her acquaintances and asked “Is there a film here?’ Eight years later, the film brought the trio back to Sundance.