Once upon a time in America, Latino kids were not allowed to speak Spanish in school. This documentary recalls those days.
In 1918, Texas, along with many other states, enacted statutes that made the speaking of any language other than English on public school grounds illegal. These laws remained active until the U.S. Congress passed the Bilingual Education Act in 1968.
Through personal interviews with distinguished leaders and educators — all native Spanish/English-speakers — When I Dream Dreams explores the complex psychological and social effects of these laws by relating the experiences of these people as students and, later, as teachers, professors, and legislators.
When I Dream Dreams was made by four students enrolled in an alternative media course at Trinity University in 2001. It has won prizes and festival appearances around the United States, including Best Student Film at the San Francisco Latino Film Festival 2002, Best of the Fest at Cine Accion 2002, and official selection at San Antonio’s Cine Festival 2002. The piece takes its name from the poem by Carmen Tafolla.