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Home » Grounded Project » Films » More Than Migrants (2021)

More Than Migrants (2021)

1hr 2min 21sec | Documentary | Social Determinants of Health, Nicaraguan Migrants, Wellbeing | June 10, 2021

More than Migrants (2021) follows the lived experience of nine people striving to make a new life for themselves and their families in Costa Rica. The stories told in their own words reveal the strength and resilience needed to overcome challenges to build a new home with dignity and well-being. The documentary offers viewers a deeper understanding of the lives of migrants and the complex issues they face.

More than Migrants was directed by Felipe Montoya, with Mathieu Poirier as the academic lead. This documentary was made by the Las Nubes Project in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) and the Faculty of Health (FoH) at York University in collaboration with the Universidad Técnica Nacional de Costa Rica, San Carlos Campus and York Libraries and the financial support of EUC, FoH, York International and York Libraries.

Official Trailer


Cast and Crew

DirectorFelipe Montoya
Academic LeadMathieu Poirier
CastCorina Altamirano, Elizabeth Garcia, Juan Acevedo, Maria Mercedez Abarca, Miguel Geronimo Abarca Campos, Rosa Acevedo, Santiago Garcia, Silvia Yolanda Garcia, Patricia Garcia Campos
Executive ProducersJulie Hard, Ana Maria Martinez, Felipe Montoya, Mathieu Poirier
Camera Oscar Protti
EditorsOscar Protti, Felipe Montoya
InterviewsFelipe Montoya, Douglas Barraza
AdvisorsKelly Park, Chris Cavanagh
YUL Advisors & Repository Dana Craig, Tom Scott, Anna St. Onge
Post-production GraphicsJoel Famadico
York University StudentsSara Gilboe, Kauthar Wahib, Claire Saramaki, Salma Ahmed
Universidad Técnica Nacional de Costa Rica FacultyBenhil José Sánchez-Porras, María Gabriela Castillo-Hernández, Gerardo Matamoros-Arce, Eduardo Castro-Miranda, Patricia Rocha-Gutiérrez, Douglas Barraza
Universidad Técnica Nacional de Costa Rica StudentsAlejandra Ballestero-Alfaro, Anthony Jesús Zamora-Castro, Daniela López Rocha, Daysi Martínez-Porras, Estefanny López-Olivas, Fabrizio Vega-Céspedes, Gerardo Matamoros Arce, Kimberly Rojas-Campos, Maria Gabriela Castillo Hernandez, Néstor Flores-Ponce
Financial SupportFaculty of Environmental and Urban Change, Faculty of Health, York International, York University Libraries

Student Videos

Sara Gilboe

As a graduate student from the Global Health program focusing on health promotion and disease prevention, I am passionate about examining health through a social determinants lens as guideline approach. I plan to continue future studies in global health policy with the hopes of making long lasting impact to advocate for equitable health.

My short documentary focuses on occupational health in relation to pesticide exposure, a complex issue in Costa Rica. When it comes to migrants in agriculture, there is a huge gap in research regarding the impact of pesticides on health, leaving migrants vulnerable to exposure and health problems because of their jobs. In the end, it benefits much more than just the individual to try to keep these vulnerable populations healthy.

Watch film: Weathered Resilience (2021)

Kauthar Wahib

My degree in Global Health and  specialization in Health Policy, Management, and Systems culminated with the Grounded Project practicum, allowing me the opportunity to conduct research, collaborate and learn about Nicaraguan migrants' experiences integrating in Costa Rica. This Grounded Project focused on examining Costa Rica's healthcare system and policies impacting migrants' access to health.

My short documentary film centres on Nicaraguan migrants sharing the process of gaining documentation needed to obtain and retain regular status in Costa Rica. Status and documentation allow access to healthcare, a visible downstream indicator of migrants face-to-face interaction with the state and is one measure of migrant integration

Watch film: Lost in the Shuffle (2021)

Claire Saramaki

This Grounded Project shed light on the impact of COVID-19 on migrants in Costa Rica.  As a Global Health students we explored employment laws, working conditions, socioeconomic status, lack of social security, stress, lack of health insurance, political issues, and not having documentation in Costa Rica. Canada and Costa Rica have many similarities in employment laws and healthcare. They also have similar health threats for migrant workers.

My documentary looks at the journey to wellbeing for migrants in Costa Rica. The traits and beliefs Nicaraguans show in the film allow them to fight and persevere through hardships to reach the destination of the life they hoped for.

Watch film: Reaching for the Destination (2021)

Salma Ahmed

As a Global Health student with a specialization in health policy, management, and systems, I completed my final practicum with the Grounded Project to learn more about the lived experience and culture of both Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans as they relate to issues of migration. Through the project, I had the opportunity to learn about the impact of moving countries for a better life can have and the issues that migrant workers face. 

My short documentary film focuses on the precariousness of life for migrants and their working conditions.  This issue is important because social determinants such as employment and livelihood can affect ones health.

Watch film: Trading Sweat for Stability (2021)

On the news & Events

YFile: "Grounded Project launches with film premiere and panel discussion, June 10"
June 1, 2021

The Grounded Project Launch: Panel Discussion
June 10, 2021, 7 p.m.

UTN News: "Se concluye primera etapa de colaboración entre la Sede de San Carlos y Grounded Project de York University, Canadá" June 22, 2021

UTN News: "Se presenta primicia del documental More than migrants (más que migrantes) en San Carlos" June 8, 2021

For his work on the Grounded Project and York's GNL, Dr. Mathieu Poirier was awarded the 2020-21 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership, Pedagogical and/or Curricular Innovation by the Faculty of Health. Read the full story here

More than Migrants was selected as finalist for the Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift on August 2021