JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Two local filmmakers are hoping to see through a project about the Latino workforce in American ski towns. A film trailer is complete, but Hilary Byrne and Sophie Danison are hoping to raise funds to cover a minimum budget of $50,000 to bring their film to completion.
“The Quiet Force” tells the story about individuals who come to the United States primarily for work, safe living conditions, and to create a life of opportunity for their families. Immigration policy allows a certain number of workers to arrive in the US legally, but visas are not available at the rate they are needed. And that’s where a problem for many begins.
In many American ski towns, the tourism and services economies would grind to a halt without their Latino populations. In a place like Jackson, Wyoming, the Latino community is a mix of documented immigrants and undocumented workers—many of whom are facing increasing risk of deportation under the current Presidential Administration, often resulting in family separation.
Members of the Latino community ski alongside us, live next door, and participate in the same kids programs and school classes. They build homes and hotels, landscape, paint, clean sheets and towels, stock groceries, and cook in the restaurants we frequent. They keep the machine humming. Yet, we barely notice them.
The documentary film, “The Quiet Force,” investigates the human and economic impact of Hispanic immigrants living in ski towns—specifically, Mammoth, Vail, and Jackson—where they comprise 30 percent (or more) of the local population.
After working together in the post-production of the all-women’s ski film, Pretty Faces, filmmakers Hilary Byrne and Sophie Danison wanted to collaborate on another project. After reading David Page’s feature, “The Quiet Force,” in Powder magazine, Byrne and Danison felt the topic was deserving of a deeper look, and began working to making the film a reality.
The film’s narrative will explore the effects of the current political climate and actions on Latino individuals and communities. Interviews with immigrant families, local politicians, law enforcement, educators, nonprofit organizations, and economists will provide a balanced analysis of an ever-changing issue that remains murky even to those most up-to-speed on the issues.