A story of family
and the borders that divide them

The Film

As you may know, we (Lauren and Isabel) traveled to Peru in Fall 2015 to film the documentary we have been working on over the past year. The film traces the journey of a mother and her daughter (ZZ and Julie) as they abandoned their life and family in rural Peru to seek economic opportunity in the U.S. What they found was more than opportunity, they found a family. By overstepping the bounds of “traditional family,” their story of migration, sacrifice, belonging, and unconditional love highlights how families can be formed, ripped apart and put back together in unconventional ways.

Why we are excited about it

Lauren has known ZZ and Julie since she was born, and they have been members of the Henschel family since their arrival in the U.S. over 20 years ago. A year ago, we decided to make a documentary about ZZ and her family. Since then, we have come a long way in developing our ideas and creating a plan to make this happen. For us, this is the best possible opportunity to do and collaborate on all of the things we both love: people, stories, food, travel, people, people, culture, adventure, art, people. What more could you want?

 Lauren and Izzy filming at Dia de los Difuntos in Niepos, Peru.

Lauren and Izzy filming at Dia de los Difuntos in Niepos, Peru.


We traveled down to South America with ZZ, Julie and Julie’s daughter Abigail to document their return to Peru and reunion with their Peruvian family. Our home base was in Lima, where the majority of their family currently lives. From Lima we traveled north to Chiclayo, and from there to Niepos, the rural highland village where they were born and raised. We did this part of the trip with ZZ, her father, and a whole bunch of brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. A giant Peruvian family road trip through the mountains? Yep, we filmed every wild second of it. We also took part in El Dia de los Difuntos (Day of the Deceased) celebrations with them while visiting the highlands. Dia de los Difuntos is a huge holiday, particularly in the countryside, when entire communities host festivals to celebrate the lives of their ancestors. 



Last spring, we applied for and received funding from the Benenson Award in the Arts Grant and other prizes at Duke that covered the travel costs of the documentary. We will continue to apply to other grants to fund the remainder of the project. Also, keep an eye out for our Kickstarter launch this winter!