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Esteemed Attorney to Executive Produce Documentary on Women Lawyers Battling the Migrant Crisis

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Careen Shannon, a New York-based attorney with nearly three decades of immigration law practice on her resume, has signed on to executive produce the upcoming documentary, Las Abogadas: Women Attorneys on the Front Line of the Migrant Crisis. The feature-length film will highlight the chaotic and dangerous U.S.-Mexico border through the lens of five tireless women who race against time, shifting politics, and criminal cartels in the fight to bring desperate asylum seekers to safety.

“As a practicing immigration lawyer, I've spent my career helping employers hire foreign workers, families reunite with loved ones, and asylum seekers find refuge from harm,” says Shannon. “Now I have the opportunity to support a team of talented documentary filmmakers telling a critically important story during one of the worst crises of migration we have seen.” Shannon says she feels grateful for the unique opportunity to help spread awareness about what she feels are grave injustices in the current U.S. immigration system.

Las Abogadas, under the direction of award-winning filmmaker Victoria Bruce, is continuing production that began in 2018 but was sidelined for a year due to the pandemic. Bruce, whose previous films cover topics of human rights, civil rights and economic justice and have been released on Netflix, PBS and HBO among other outlets, said she is extremely excited that Shannon agreed to take on the role. “It can be very difficult to find an Executive Producer for a documentary film with Careen’s passion and in-depth knowledge of the subject matter,” she says. With Shannon in the lead, Bruce said that the team plans to raise the $400,000-plus needed to finish the film in time to reflect the urgency of the crisis and play a role in educating and guiding policy in 2022 and beyond.

The Las Abogadas team includes Social Impact Producer Laura Seltzer-Duny, a Washington, D.C.-based filmmaker with two decades of non-fiction accolades for her women’s empowerment and human rights stories, including her 2020 Emmy-nominated film about Holocaust survivors, Nobody Wants Us. “Today, filmmakers must work hard to find ways to partner with individuals and organizations who can make a difference,” she says. “It really helps that Careen is connected to people in the immigration field,” Seltzer said, adding that it is essential to get people on board who care about the issue and will help host and organize screenings and discussions. “Our goal is to use the film as an educational tool for citizens and lawmakers.”

Rebecca Eichler, an attorney for over 20 years handling human rights and immigration law, is one of the film’s five subjects and also part of the production team. As the Subject Matter Expert, she helps guide the editorial and production team to tell complicated legal stories in a clear and engaging way, something she feels is integral to Shannon’s involvement as well. “Careen brings to this project the weight of her own experience – as a partner in a premier immigration law firm, a law professor, and a caring professional who has worked in the family detention centers – and elevates the entire discourse,” Eichler says.

Las Abogadas has a planned release for Fall of 2022, and Shannon is hoping to bring colleagues and friends on board who are well-versed in the migrant crisis in order to expand and create a larger receptive and action-oriented network. “I hope the message will resonate with audiences and inspire them to work for positive change."

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