‘Nurse Unseen’: Help Fund This Documentary about the Unsung Filipino Frontline Nurses in the US

Around the world, it seems close to impossible not to find a nurse of Filipino descent working in hospitals and caring for the sick. In the US alone, Filipino nurses make up roughly 4% of the nursing workforce. Not a surprising statistic, you might think. But you know what is? That they account for almost 25% of the nation’s nurse deaths due to COVID-19, according to the latest numbers from National Nurses United released in May 2021.

They risk so much and yet they continue to serve others selflessly. They truly are our unsung heroes.

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This is precisely the reason why Filipina-American filmmaker Michele Josue wanted to create her new documentary, titled “Nurse Unseen,” which zeroes in the lives of these Filipino nurses risking their lives on the frontlines of a pandemic, thousands of miles from home. The documentary aims to dig deep into why so many Filipino nurses left the Philippines and why they have been so disproportionately affected by the coronavirus situation.

“We hope to explore, contextualize, and humanize this staggering statistic of Filipino nurses who have lost their lives on the front lines of this pandemic,” she said in an official statement.

Additionally, “Nurse Unseen” unearths the colonial ties between the Philippines and the US that have led to the Philippines becoming the leading exporter of professional nurses there.

“We strongly believe “Nurse Unseen” is an extremely vital project of utmost relevance and urgency for our Filipino nurses and, by extension, all nurses,” shared producer and active registered nurse Arlyn Dela Pena, RN.

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How can you help?

With a dream of showing this piece to the world, Josue and her team have launched a Kickstarter campaign that will help them raise the funds they need to push its production forward.

Producer Carlo Velayo (who also produced Isabel Sandoval’s “Lingua Franca”) states, “Our film is a totally independent production that’s been self-financed up until this point. But making a documentary film is an expensive
endeavor! We are asking for only a portion of what we need to make the film. Kickstarter contributions will go directly to funding our film’s production costs.”

You can pledge an amount as little as US$ 5 and as much as US$ 10,000 or more. Some rewards that will be given to those who support the project include artwork by Fil-Am artist Genevieve Santos; the book “Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History” by UC-Berkeley Professor Catherine Ceniza-Choy; and even a walk-on role in the film for aspiring actors! The producers hope to raise US$ 50,000 by June 6. As of writing, US$ 27,000+ have already been pledged.

“Passionate people make all the difference with a project of this magnitude, and every single person’s contribution will help make this film a reality,” added Josue.

Learn more about “Nurse Unseen” through its Kickstarter page, Instagram page, and Facebook page.

(ALSO READ: On the Frontlines: Stories of Selfless Dedication of 6 Filipino Nurses)

What are your thoughts on this film? Let us know in the comments!

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