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Karla’s Arrival

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Raising a baby on the streets can be a blessing. A young girl’s negative sense of self-worth might prevent her from saving herself, but once she has chosen to become a mother, she will resolve to leave the streets for the love of her child.
The documentary follows 19-year old mother Sujeylin Aguilar and baby Karla, who live as part of a group of kids in a park in Managua, as they struggle through the first year of the child’s life. The story starts three months before Karla’s birth and ends around her first birthday.


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Running Time: 58 min.
Subject(s): Children, Education, Family, Gender, Health, Latin American Studies, Poverty, Urbanism see all »
Language(s): Spanish
Subtitles: English
Director(s):
Producer(s): El Rayo Films
Production Company: El Rayo Films

Festival & Awards

  • One World Film Festival
  • DocumentaMadrid
  • Montreal World Film Festival
  • Bar International Film Festival
    Golden Olive for Best Documentary
  • MujerDoc
    Best Feature Documentary
  • Busan Int'l Film Festival
  • Ad Hoc: Inconvenient Films
  • Festival de Cine de Madrid
  • Flahertiana Int'l Doc Festival

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  • Synopsis

    KARLA’S ARRIVAL – SYNOPSIS

     

    Raising a baby on the streets can be a blessing. A young girl’s negative sense of self-worth might prevent her from saving herself, but once she has chosen to become a mother, she will resolve to leave the streets for the love of her child.

     

    The documentary film Karla’s Arrival follows 19-year old mother Sujeylin Aguilar and baby Karla, who live as part of a group of kids in a small park in Managua (Nicaragua), as they struggle through the first year of the child’s life. The story starts three months before Karla’s birth and ends around its first birthday.

     

    For eight years now, Sujeylin has been living off the generosity of her drug-dealing boyfriend and the NGO’s peppering the city. She doesn’t expect the arrival of her baby to change much in her own life, planning to raise her in the park where she forms part of a group of colorful characters she considers her only family. Yet she never imagined the scope of the immediate challenges and dangers facing her young daughter.

     

    Sujeylin kicks a moderate glue habit weeks before the birth. Although she is both smart and strong, chances are that she picks it back up at the first difficulty she encounters. But there are other challenges. The park is a potential health hazard for the baby, while the police could show up any time to take Karla away to a government shelter. She starts looking for alternatives.

     

    Driven by a desire to create something she herself didn’t have, a true family, the young mother makes several attempts to escape the park. Days after the birth, she rents a room but is soon expelled for not being able to keep up payments. After a period back on the streets, Sujeylin forces herself to travel to the countryside to live with her own mother and sisters. She’s back two months later, having opened old family wounds which, at the age of 12, were the reason she fled to the streets in the first place. Finally, she decides to take up the offer of a young man to come live with him, sacrificing her true desires for the safety of the baby.

     

    Karla’s Arrival takes its audience on the intense personal journey of a young woman’s venture into motherhood under extreme circumstances. Narrated by the protagonist herself and told with gracious intimacy, the film offers a story full of hope, covering a universal issue we have not before been exposed to.

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