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The Film Synopsis

No matter where you stand on the hot button topic of immigration, this true story -- of one man’s journey from the world’s most dangerous city to where he is today at the top of his profession -- will not fail to touch your heart on the most human level.

Dr. Harold Fernandez is a top cardiac surgeon living and working in beautiful Long Island, NY.  But his story starts in Medellin, Colombia, once considered the drug and murder capital of the world.  Based on Dr. Fernandez’s book Undocumented, the film is a frightening, shocking, compelling, and inspiring story of struggle and danger, ultimately ending in triumph through unfailing love and the indomitable courage of the human spirit. 

Meet the Fernandez family: parents Alberto and Angela, who met, married and had two sons in the impoverished and extremely dangerous Medellin barrio of Antioquia.  Over the years of their life there seven members of their families were victims of unsolved murders.  Alberto and Angela had very little but risked everything to flee the poverty, drugs, gangs and violence of their city. They endured years of separation from their sons, parents and each other, suffering long hours and low pay to reach for the American Dream.

Join 13 year-old Harold and his 11 year-old brother Byron as they attempt to cross the perilous Bermuda Triangle in a small boat with 11 adult strangers during hurricane season to reunite with their parents in America, whom they had not seen for years.  Making the voyage even more perilous, neither boys could swim and there were no life jackets on board.  Follow Harold’s struggles to learn English, endure taunts, academic failure and hardships in his school years.  But through sheer perseverance, hard work and determination, he rises to be his high school valedictorian.   He then gets accepted to his dream university, and eventually to the top of his class at Princeton.  It is there that his terrible secret of being undocumented is revealed, endangering all he and his family worked so long and hard for.  But with the help of powerful allies and a sympathetic  judge with vision, compassion and empathy, he and his entire family are granted full citizenship.  Finally after graduating from Harvard Medical School and a grueling residency at Bellevue Hospital he reached the pinnacle of his profession, where he excels today.  A humble man who has never forgotten his roots and struggles to overcome them, he is highly regarded, respected and beloved by his patients, staff and colleagues.

His is the ultimate American Dream story, and puts a human face on the bitter debate about immigration.  In today’s political climate we believe this story is needed NOW more than ever.


English subtitle: 


Information for the Audience: 

This multiple award-winning documentary is about the journey and struggles of one man and his family, coming from what was the most dangerous city in the world -- Medellin, Colombia -- to strive for a better life in America.  It is a story of love, perseverance, courage and faith that all this will prevail.  Frightening, shocking, compelling, inspiring and ultimately triumphant and uplifting.

Written, produced, edited and directed by first-time filmmaker Patricia Shih, based on the autobiography of Dr. Harold Fernandez, one of New York's top cardio-thoracic surgeons.  This film will touch and lift your hearts.  Associate Producer, cinematographer and editor: Greg Blank.

Screenings / Awards: 


Queens World Film Festival
Honorable Mention Documentary Feature
Nominated for Best Director Documentary Feature

Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards
Award of Excellence Story Feature
Award of Excellence Women Filmmakers

Docs Without Borders Film Festival
Award of Outstanding Excellence in 5 categories:
Human Spirit, Biographical Feature
Social Issues
Viewer Impact: Content/Message Delivery
Narration Talent (Jay O. Sanders)

Hoboken International Film Festival
Nominated for Best of the Festival Audience Award

Accolade Global Film Competition
Award of Merit Documentary Feature
Award of Merit Women Filmmakers

Impact Docs Awards
Award of Merit Documentary Feature

United Nations Association Film Festival
Official Selection 2017

San Diego Latino Film Festival
Official Selection 2018

Add a Movie Film Festival
Best Picture Award



Cinema Arts Centre 3 times, sold out

Clinton Street Theater

North Shore Tower Cinema

Ethical Humanist Society

Stanford University

Roxie Theater

Jeanne Rimsky Theater



Directed by: 
Patricia Shih
Writing credits: 
Dr. Harold Fernandez Patricia Shih
The Fernandez Family
Produced by: 
Patricia Shih
Music by: 
Joe Jencks
Cinematography by: 
Greg Blank
Film Editing by: 
Patricia Shih Greg Blank
Casting by: 
Production Design by: 
Art Direction by: 
Set Decoration by: 
Costume Design by: 
Makeup Department: 
Production Management: 
Other crew: 
Greg Blank Stephen Fricker
Release Date: 
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Official sites:
Total votes: 690

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