Celebrating the Bicentennial of Mexico (1810-2010)

2,501 Migrants: A Journey

Global migration as seen through the eyes of Oaxacan artist, Alejandro Santiago



LOS ANGELES (August 10, 2010) – The small Mexican state of Oaxaca is the largest exporter of human labor to the United States.  Understanding the devastating effects of a town left behind, filmmaker and Oaxacan native, Yolanda Cruz takes a look at the other side of immigration to see what happens to a village when virtually all of its citizens have left for a chance at a brighter economic future.  In celebration of Mexico’s bicentennial (9/16/10), 2,501 MIGRANTS: A JOURNEY will be released nationwide on DVD on September 14, 2010.

This marks Cruz’s seventh documentary all of which deal in themes of Mexico’s indigenous people.  Her other films include:  “Entre Sueños,” Sundance Film Festival selection in 2000; “Women Who Organize;” “Sueños Binacionales;” “Guenati’za;” and “MENA.” She also worked with Brave New Films where she produced and directed three episodes of the “Freedom Files” including: “Freedom to Marry,” “Freedom to Dream: Rights of Immigrants,” and “Freedom to Learn: School to Prison Pipeline.” 2,501 MIGRANTS: A JOURNEY was an Official Selection as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and was the Winner for Best Documentary Film at the Expresión en Corto International Film Festival.  Additionally, the film has screened at the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and will be screening at the Smithsonian in New York and Washington DC during Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15).

Alejandro Santiago is one of Oaxaca’s leading artists having received critical acclaim in Mexico, the U.S. and Europe.  Born in San Pedro Teococuilco, he left the small village to pursue his art career, which eventually led him to France for a brief stay.  When he returned to his birthplace, he found more than half of the population gone.  Santiago then decided to re-populate the village with 2,501 life-size sculptures, each measuring just over 4-feet tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds.  The exhibition debuted in Monterrey, Mexico and Santiago’s plans are to permanently display the sculptures on the streets of Teococuilco.

SYNOPSIS : Every day, thousands of primarily poor and young indigenous Mexicans abandon their homes in communities throughout the country. Whole villages are left empty of everyone but children and old people as these migrants leave their families and cultures and journey to the first world in search of jobs and a brighter future – or, any economic future at all.

2,501 MIGRANTS: A JOURNEY illustrates this through the story of 45-year old artist, Alejandro Santiago. Affluent and erudite, Alejandro returns home to Teococuilco — after a brief self-exile in France — to a virtual ghost town. He experiences, first hand, the reality that Oaxaca has emerged as one of Mexico’s leading exporters of human labor to the United States. Inspired by this, he decides to create a monumental installation art piece: 2,501 life-size sculptures – an homage to each migrant who left his village.

Filmmaker and native Oaxacan, Yolanda Cruz, explores the questions of art and an indigenous community in the context of global migration and how that impacts the roots and livelihood of a small village. Alejandro’s quiet demeanor and passion for art is celebrated and captured as respectfully and as beautifully as each individual sculpture. His knowledge is shared with those who have stayed behind. They’ve dedicated their lives to this installation in honor of their small Oaxacan town.

2501 Migrants DVD


SRP $19.95 | USA | TRT: 57 minutes

Street Date 9/14/10

UPC 88139419827 | Catalog CLS 1098

Genre: Documentary

In Spanish with English subtitles

Special Bonus Features: Extended Interviews • Photo Gallery • Deleted Scenes

For trailer, images and downloads, visit, or click here for high res art.

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Cinema Libre Studio is a haven for independent filmmakers with one-stop shopping for production and distribution.  The company, a leader in distributing social issue films and narratives by young, up-and-coming filmmakers, is a full-service studio with a full array of offerings including:  acquisitions, theatrical distribution, international & television sales, grassroots outreach, digital download and post-production services.  Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company is best known for distributing award-winning films that include: “Outfoxed,” “Uncovered: The War on Iraq,” Participant Media’s “Angels in the Dust,” the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award Winner, “Conventioneers,” and the studio’s own production, “The End of Poverty?”  The company has recently released Oliver Stone’s documentary “South of the Border.”  For more information, please visit

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  1. Im glad that Alejandro Santiago’s story of the migration and dangerous
    journy to the U.S. is finally being heard via DVD and book.

    Alejandro’s art represents the connection between the struggle of
    and impact of mass migration on both Mexico and the U.S. with
    uncanny timing and style.

  2. Thanks Carl! As a small distributor, we hope that people like you will help us spread the word about this amazing film, 2501 Migrants.

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