Francisco and Roberto Jiménez immigrated to California from Mexico in 1947 when both were young boys. Their parents
led them across the border in search of a better life and out of the poverty that was crippling them in rural Mexico. They
arrived dreaming of “streets lined with gold” only to find a cruel and brutal life in the migrant labor camps of California.
Living in old army tents and following the crops up and down the Central Valley, Francisco and Roberto’s childhood was
spent picking cotton, strawberries and grapes instead of playing in a park. They didn’t speak the language and had no
friends. They could rely only on their deep faith and devoted parents. In this short film both men remember a Christmas
some 60 years ago that defined their family and the experience of so many other migrant worker families in California.
Their story is brought to life using interviews, illustrations and family photos.

A Christmas in Tent City is the first of several short films about Francisco, his family and how they managed to escape the
migrant worker camps, grow up and get an education while avoiding deportation, and eventually become citizens. To see
all of the short docs visit
Unknown Hero Stories.

These shorts will be used in part to create the feature length documentary Unknown Hero: The Francisco Jiménez Story
Released: November 2008

Michael T. Whalen - Writer/Producer/Director/Editor
Claire B. Cotts - Illustrations
Nicole C. Whalen - Associate Producer
Liam Satre-Meloy - Camera/Sound (interviews)
Tim Rosenberg - Camera/Sound effects/Assistant Editor

Running time: 7.5 minutes
Premiere, March 1, 2009 - Cinequest Film Festival,
San Jose, Ca
2009 BEA Festival of Media Arts Award of Excellence, Faculty Short Documentary

SILVER REMI Award for Creative Excellence at the 2009 WorldFest Houston International Film Festival

2008 Award of Excellence (short documentary: faculty tenure track) from
The Accolade Competition
A Christmas
Tent City