When Bryan Thompson was a teenager, he befriended an undocumented Mexican immigrant. Maria was the sister-in-law of a family friend and Thompson found her intriguing.
"She was the first person I met who couldn’t speak English," he says. "It was fascinating trying to communicate."
The two eventually attended prom together. Not long after the night of limos and corsages, the U.S. government deported Maria back to Mexico, where she lives to this day. The two have remained friends.
In the opening scenes of “El Sueño,” Thompson's feature length film, two young Mexican families arrive in the United States. The parents are killed by an anti-immigrant hate group at the border, leaving two children orphaned in America. The film's narrative follows their efforts to gain legal status and become citizens of their adopted country.
Bryan Thompson on the set of an upcoming film.
The roots of the film wind back to Thompson's youth and his witness to the struggle of undocumented children, brought without say, to stay in the United States.
As well as promoting his film, Thompson is enrolled in the LL.M. in Inter-American Law at Miami Law. Inter-American Law is a specialization within the International Law LL.M., designed for U.S. lawyers to prepare them for a career in the Inter-American legal field and to expose them to the basic aspects of Latin American law and legal culture. The degree enables them to more efficiently service clients from that region as well as advise clients doing business in Latin America.
And he is simultaneously exploring the LL.M. in Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law offerings.
Thompson wants to use his new degree to foster relationships between independent filmmakers and major distribution companies while remaining anchored firmly in Latin American communities on both sides of the border.
“The Inter-American Law LLM Program is perfect for students who are looking to enrich their legal education by gaining knowledge of the issues that practitioners encounter when working with Latin America,” said Carmen Perez-Llorca, director of the International Graduate Law Programs. The degree is tailored to the student’s needs and interests. Beyond the program’s core curriculum, our students have access to a wide range of elective courses that allow them to explore issues in immigration, dispute resolution, trade, tax, or entertainment law, to name a few. It is only with an offering as varied and flexible as the one we provide that we can attract students like Bryan with such impressive backgrounds.”
Today, Thompson is a remarkably busy man. “El Sueño” is on the film festival circuit showing at Los Angeles Cinefest, Movement Latino in Santa Monica, the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival, and others pursuing worldwide distribution. He is also preparing for the 3rd Annual Miami Web Fest, which showcases web series from all over the world, running from September 29th to October 2nd. It will also serve as the Miami festival premiere of El Sueño (the first 50 Miami Law students to register will get in free). And Thompson's weekly course load at Miami Law keeps him ever occupied, which includes International Business and Doing Business in Latin America.
“Almost all prominent media companies have their Latin American hub in Miami," Thompson says. "What I am learning in my courses is already allowing me to evolve my business into a dependable source of new content for these companies while creating opportunities for independent filmmakers. Understanding treaties, international business practices, and international alternative dispute resolution can play a significant role in overall success in both international business and international law.”
Just as his protagonists -- the two young Mexican immigrants -- find success, Thompson strives to marry his loves for art and law and Latin America.