In a small town outside of Mexico City is a place that houses abandoned and/or abused boys called IPODERAC. This self-sustaining facility, raises goats for milk and in turn creates artisinal cheeses sold to high-end markets and restaurants in Mexico. IPODERAC creates a safe environment to not only learn, but to be productive members of society. Nicole Opper takes us through the open doors of this remarkable center in her new film “Visitor’s Day.” With beautiful cinematography and gifted story-telling, we get to know several of these boys and travel along their emotional journey of growth and development. This film will not only inspire you, it confirms that humanity is not lost—we can help one another.
Juan Carlos, Roberto, Tio Carlos, and Pepe are just a few of the boys we get to know in “Visitor’s Day.” All of these boys have a different story, but what ties them together is the pain and suffering of loss, abandonment, and/or abuse. Many of these boys were living on the street and turned to a life of crime and drug use at an early age. What makes “Visitor’s Day” different is the filmmaking style to communicate what a truly remarkable place IPODERAC is. We are privy to counseling sessions, tours, psychological evaluations and results, and of course, to the monthly visitor’s day. We take a seat at the table, we walk along side of these children, and we feel our heart break as we hear these boys talk about their past. The extraordinary efforts of the skilled professionals at IPODERAC that help these boys create the tools to be resilient in order to confront their past and “appreciate sadness,” is simply astonishing.
Juan Carlos is one of the boys whose story is quite shocking. He explains what happened in his home, being tied to a chair, beaten, yet still longing for the love and approval of his father who he hasn’t seen in 6 years. We are a part of his therapy sessions and his conversations with the other boys and staff. We sit on the edge of our seats, awaiting the arrival of his father, feeling the dread of disappointment, but not totally losing hope: we are right there with Juan Carlos. The intervention he receives allows us to see that no one is truly lost.
The film also captures the fact that ll of the boys in the film work together as a community to support one another and find the right path to follow. The compassion among the boys and the staff is quite unusual and perhaps could be a model facility for other cities and countries.
“Visitor’s Day” is a unique and in-depth look inside the doors of a remarkable place of healing, growth, and development. IPODERAC is the prototype for intervention and with Opper’s style of filmmaking, we are a part of this extraordinary world. “Visitor’s Day” is a film of love, hope, and our future.