Pocha: Manifest Destiny – Day Three at the Twin Cities Film Festival

Day Three in Minneapolis marked the end of sunny and warm, and the beginning of rainy and cold.  My first film of the day at the Twin Cities Film Fest 2015 was the 1:00 PM screening of Pocha: Manifest Destiny.


In case you were wondering, Pocha is a derogatory term used by Mexicans to describe Mexican-American girls who have little or no understanding or fluency in Spanish – and have major communication difficulties with Spanish-speaking Mexicans. The term is derived from the word pocho which means rotten or discolored fruit. Said in a broader context – both pocha and pocho are intended to mean – useless.

As the film opens – we meet a young Mexican American woman who will be known as Pocha. She’s got major financial problems, the home she lives in with her mother is facing foreclosure. The loan officer at the bank tells her she must come up with 20k to become current.

So she connects with some people she knows whose major business is credit card fraud and debit card fraud. With the aid of sophisticated equipment, they can rob you blind. It works until it doesn’t work. She’s busted.

As an undocumented person while in custody, her info has been sent to Immigration. They give her two choices: 1) Plead guilty and be immediately sent back to Mexico as a free person with no rights to ever re-enter America again, or 2) Plead innocent, take your chances in court (against a very strong case) – do your jail time – then be deported.

Your basic situation of being between a rock and a hard place.

Not much of a choice. Her estranged father lives in Mexico, and our girl figures she can avoid doing time in jail, and eventually she’d find a way to cross back into America.

So there’s Pocha arriving at her father’s ranch. He is a cattleman, and NOT what you’d called a gentleman farmer.  He’s a working guy and his hands and his clothes get dirty every day.

But he’s got a big ranch, and as Pocha finds out, she’s got to help out. She can’t be allowed to spend all day in bed. Her Dad says the pay is $10. An hour?, she asks. No, a day.

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