Tiffany Kontoyiannis-Guillen’s short film Welcome Back – Review

Director Tiffany Kontoyiannis-Guillen shares the heartbreaking journey of immigrants post deportation in Welcome Back. Inspired by real events, Rosa and her daughter Sophia search for safety after their removal from the United States to communist Venezuela endangers their lives. Kontoyiannis creates an overlooked perspective of the obstacles immigrants face in the country they’re escaping.

Born to a Venezuelan mother, Kontoyiannis-Guillen grew distraught watching beloved family and friends suffer in a country once precious to her. By employing her filmmaking talents, she sought to aid her people. Kontoyiannis does not shy from meaningful projects. Experience with bullying fueled her passion for improved anti-bullying regulations, and at 14, Kontoyiannis toured South Florida for her play The Cycle describing the effects of bullying. The Latina filmmaker and director since then have found great success later appearing on MSNBC, NBS, TV Venezuela, and CBS. 

Immigration is a long-debated discussion spanning across several countries. Media occasionally villainizes the topic of immigration favouring deportation as a logical solution. Kontoyiannis brings light to tragic events in present-day Venezuela. Her utilization of real-life experiences authenticates the tragedies displayed in her film and credits those struggling by accurately representing their narrative. Kontoyiannis’ honest execution of the horrors of the Venezuelan crisis makes the issue difficult to remain silent. 

It’s easy to neglect a person in crisis when empathetic emotions cannot form. Rosa’s ultimate sacrifice for her daughter is a situation no mother should endure. Kontoyiannis-Guillen helps audiences see themselves as Rosa and understanding with her decisions to flee. By projecting Rosa’s fear and desperation into viewers, hearts Kontoyiannis erases the lines separating the oppressed from the non. Venezuela is slowly crumbling under its crisis. Welcome Back instills sympathy within viewers urging them to assist Venezuelans in any way possible from signing petitions to demanding their government to remodel immigration laws.

The tragic events that Rosa and Sophia underwent aren’t limited to Venezuela; communism endangers millions of individuals in countries across the globe. Anyone from any country is susceptible to fall under similar circumstances. Millions of Venezuelans are courageously seeking asylum and forced to push through their fear with minimal help from neighbouring countries. Welcome Back creates awareness for a near decades-long crisis acting as a critical element in a mission for change.

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