Sam was brought to the U.S. by his Mexican parents when he was 5. He stayed out of trouble, was drum major of his Elkhart, Ind., high school's marching band, fell in love with playing jazz on the tenor sax, and got his diploma with honors — only to find that for an undocumented immigrant, graduation marks a dead end.
The 18-year-old is a completely American kid who has little memory of Mexico. His spoken Spanish is poor; his written Spanish is worse. But without documents, Sam is unable to legally work, to drive, to get financial aid or even to attend some U.S. colleges.
Long Haul Productions documents Sam's struggle, starting at his graduation and continuing through discouraging financial aid meetings and illegal workdays as he tries to scrape together money for classes at a local college. "American Dreamer" tells the story of the talented and articulate young jazz musician.