Student's film about a family facing deportation to premiere


The Effects poster

The spotlight will be on first-year student Rosemary Gramajo this weekend as her very first film premieres. “The Effects” tells the story of Rosa, a teen who is forced to make a difficult decision when her father, Hector, a hard-working Guatemalan, is threatened with deportation.

Rosemary Gramajo “The film is based on true events,” says Gramajo. “On my life and on what other immigrant families have gone through. It also shows what I want to build in the future.”

The premiere of “The Effects” will be streamed  Saturday, Sept. 12, at 5:30 p.m. online. You can view the trailer on YouTube, and you can sign up online to watch the premiere.

Gramajo, a native of Cleveland, started working on the film the summer before starting 11th grade at Facing History New Tech High School in Cleveland. She recalls feeling bored one evening and turned to something she does well to pass the time.

“Since I love writing, I told myself, ‘Hmmm, let me write down something. Let me write down my story.'”

She went on to become the first contest winner for "Art of Me's What is Power & Community?" story contest. Art of Me helped Gramajo make her film.

'A good kind of stressful'

“If I were to say that it was easy, I would be lying,” admits Gramajo, who is majoring in psychology and minoring in entrepreneurship. “It’s unbelievable how much work goes into making even a short film. Yes, it was a little stressful, but it was a good kind of stressful. We had to go to different locations to record and in one of the places the producers stayed there till 3 a.m., I believe.”

The film was originally scheduled to be screened in mid-March in Cleveland before being shown on Showtime and being presented in Washington, D.C., at the UNIDOS National Changemakers Advocacy Conference. The arrival of the pandemic put all plans on hold.

“It feels unreal to me that my story is going to be out there for anyone to watch,” says Gramajo, who is a member of our Emerging Leaders. “I would say I feel proud and blessed.” 

“The Effects” is her first film, but it may well not be her last.

“If the opportunity knocks on my door, of course! I will always keep on writing and if one day that opportunity comes knocking on my door again, with an open heart I will open.”