Juana Luz Tobar Ortega came to the United States 24 years ago as an asylum seeker from Guatemala. For the last 6 years living in North Carolina, Juana has checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) annually and received a stay of deportation. But in April of 2017, she was told without warning that she had 30 days to leave the country or be deported, and was given an ankle monitor that transmits her location to ICE at all times. In 2017, non-criminal deportation cases like Juana’s skyrocketed. Deportation is devastating, separating mothers and breadwinners like Juana from the families and communities who need them. But deportation is not the only option. After over two decades in the United States, Juana refused to leave her 4 children and 2 nine-year-old granddaughters to return to Guatemala. Instead, in May of 2017, Juana entered sanctuary at an unfamiliar church. St. Barnabas Episcopal in Greensboro, North Carolina welcomed Juana, a stranger, into their church home. In this complicated immigration landscape, communities can be divided, or communities can be brought together under extraordinary circumstances. SANTUARIO is a documentary short about radical faith, one family’s fight to stay together, and the true meaning of church in today’s immigration climate.


Directors, Producers | Pilar Timpane & Christine Delp