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Still of Julio Torres as Alejandro Martinez in the movie Problemista.
At Liberty Podcast

In 'Problemista,' Julio Torres Crafts an Imaginative Immigration Story

March 21, 2024

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The United States is home to the largest immigrant population in the world, with hundreds of thousands more seeking asylum and citizenship. America would not be what it is today if not for immigration and the contributions of millions of those who have come here, bolstering the population, strengthening the economy, and weaving their cultures into the fabric of this nation.

And yet, despite this truth, many immigrants in the U.S. and those seeking entry at our borders continue to face a bureaucratic, dangerous system that often casts them aside. From the costly and complicated citizenship process to the anti-immigrant rhetoric that plagues today’s politics, immigrants often find themselves jumping through hoops to stay in this country. That’s the situation that Alejandro Martinez, an aspiring toymaker and Hasbro hopeful, finds himself in when he moves from El Salvador to New York City. One mistake puts him out of a job and left to scramble for new employment that will sponsor him for a work visa. The journey to get a work visa is anything but conventional. This is the basis of “Problemista” a new A24 movie starring, written and directed by comedian Julio Torres. Torres, who is an immigrant himself, plays Alejandro and through his trials, offers a glimpse into a dizzying and absurd reality of the immigration process. You may also know him from his Emmy-nominated writing for SNL, the show “Los Espookys,” and his comedy special “My Favorite Shapes” on HBO.

Today, he joins us to talk about “Problemista” and the experiences that led to its creation.

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