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Short film: Estrellita (Little Star)


Daniel Houghton writes:

I've been working on an animation these past couple years about deportation and family separation and this past week's news in the U.S. has been really upsetting and heartbreaking. And I want to participate somehow so I'm putting the animation up with the hope that it could serve as one more avenue for saying that taking kids away from their parents is wrong.

If you want to support that message please share it. If you want to support the awesome work of the student animators, writers, editors, musicians and mentors here at Middlebury that worked with me for 2 years on the project, please share it on social media. I have a lot of faith in art making, and collaborative art making especially, as a tonic for so many things that are screwy these days.

The video is 7 minutes, so if you have it, take a peek. And if you have ideas for incorporating art in these bigger conversations that are affecting real peoples lives. Let me know. I'm all ears.



  1. Art provides us with surprising connections.
    Once this country and its people took for granted that everyone was an immigrant.
    Everyone had experienced loss and separation.
    But, that was by choice rather than by force.
    We have flipped in every corner of our nation the meaning of liberty bestowed by providence to a cult of fear needing more and more policing to protect ourselves from ourselves.
    May the stars of my immigrant parents shine as a reminder to me of their separation from what was.

  2. When I saw the truck turn black I was like, awesome! Then you depict people who put there lives on the line to protect fellow citizens every day as evil. If people would immigrate legally there wouldn't be a problem.

    • its a the view through the eyes of the little kids and the horror that fall on them seen their parents taken away from them, that is EVIL no matter who dose it
      also speaking of immigrating LEGALLY are you talking about how "Columbus" did it or what.

      • Pathetic? What about criminal, American citizen parents? Should they go unpunished because they have children? And what do you mean "Columbus"? What's the first thing that you think he saw here, a city or a forest?

        • I mean, there weren't thinks like international laws back then.
          Seizing a piece of land that you considered inhabited by savages was totally moral and legal back then, as long as you could make your government at home happy with a few sacks of gold.
          If we look back with or modern eyes on the past, then seizing a piece of land that already belongs to someone else is totally immoral and illegal...
          So it's hard to compare the two.
          Also Laws and Morality don't always align. It was totally very legal to deport Jews in Germany in the 1940s but was it moral??

    • Interesting how the reaction of people can be when you see your side of a conflict from the eyes of the other side... Evil is not so black and white, it's a matter of perspective... Though i don't think illegal immigration is a good thing, or even a way to solve what's happening.
      Separating forcibly kids from their parents is evil no matter how I look at it. I think this animation is a beautiful mirror.

  3. That was one of the most heartbreaking videos I've ever seen. Earlier today I re-watched the appraised video "Paperman", which is still really good. But this short film resonated with me on such a scale I haven't experienced in a long time. Hope this film gets all the attention and praise films like "Paperman" does.

  4. no se necesitan palabras para describir la crudeza que estan viviendo esas familias, una desgracia a la humanidad que cada vez se esta degradando como ser humano y los tratan como si fueran unos animales

    gracias Daniel y a todo tu equipo por realizar este maravilloso trabajo

    felicidades a todos ustedes

      • No need words to describe the harshness that these families are living, a disgrace to humanity that is degrading as a human being and treat them as if they were animals

        Thanks Daniel and all your team for doing this wonderful job


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