A PLACE TO BREATHE
Film poster for "A Place To Breathe" with tree
A PLACE TO BREATHE
Film poster for "A Place To Breathe" with tree
explores the universality of trauma, resilience, and healing in immigrant communities

A PLACE TO BREATHE

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews Online | American Public Health Association Film Festival | World Health Organization Turkey Integrative Medicine for the Underserved

Public Health • Integrative Medicine • Immigration Studies • Refugees • Health Equity • Race, Culture & Ethnic Studies • Anthropology • American Studies

Date of Completion: 2020 | Run Time: 87 minutes | Language: English, Spanish, Khmer, Mam, French, Swahili | Captions: Yes Director: Michelle Grace Steinberg | Producer(s): Michelle Grace Steinberg & Robyn Bykofsky

A PLACE TO BREATHE explores the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of immigrant and refugee healthcare practitioners and patients. This feature-length documentary intertwines the personal journeys of those who are transcending their own obstacles by healing others. Combining cinema vérité and animation, the film highlights the creative strategies by which immigrant communities in the U.S. survive and thrive.

The film weaves together the arcs of Rodrigue (DR Congo), Socheat (Cambodia), Norma (Guatemala), and the young couple Edgar and Yania (Mexico and Uruguay) as they pursue their dreams of supporting their communities’ healing. Common ground and chance connections join these unique stories as the film humanizes those who have migrated here, sharing their wisdom and perspectives that enrich and strengthen our communities. This is more critical than ever with the devastating effects that COVID-19 is having on communities of color and immigrant populations. A PLACE TO BREATHE moves audiences to envision new understandings of wellness for all.

REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH MICHELLE GRACE STEINBERG

Director, Producer and Healthcare Practitioner
A PLACE TO BREATHE 

Michelle Grace Steinberg, M.S. is an independent filmmaker based in Oakland, CA and founder of Underexposed Films. Michelle is the director, producer, cinematographer, and primary editor of A PLACE TO BREATHE (2020) and BEYOND RECOGNITION (2014) in partnership with producer Robyn Bykofsky. A PLACE TO BREATHE premiered at the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival in September 2020 and is currently on the festival circuit. It won the Interfaith Documentary Award at the 2020 St. Louis International Film Festival. The film did a two-week theatrical run at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, CA. BEYOND RECOGNITION is currently broadcasting nationally on Public Television and won Best Short for the 2015 San Francisco Green Film Festival, as well appearing in numerous other festivals internationally, including Wild & Scenic, Cinequest, and DC Independent.  In 2012, Michelle produced, directed, filmed, and edited her first film BURIED VOICES. The film screened at the American Indian Film Festival as well as other festivals, conferences, and grassroots venues; it is used as curriculum at several universities. Aside from filmmaking, Michelle is the Nutritionist and Herbalist at Street Level Health Project, a Spanish bilingual free clinic, where she has been running her integrative medicine services in conjunction with the healthcare team there since 2009. She was on the board of directors of Integrative Medicine for the Underserved from 2016-2020, and won the American Herbalist Guild 2015 Award for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Michelle originally hails from Washington, D.C. and received a Bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology from Wesleyan University and a Master's degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport.

Upon request, the filmmaker can be accompanied by Yania Escobar or Rodrigue Kalambayi, who are featured in the film and can speak about their own experiences as well as best practices for culturally-responsive, community-led healthcare models.

Yania Escobar was born in Uruguay and moved to the United States with her mother when she was thirteen years old. After attending UC Berkeley, she was able to benefit from Deferred Action from Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which provides a work permit for people who immigrated as children. Yania found a passion for working with other immigrants and low income folks while working at the Street Level Health Project; a clinic and resource center in Oakland. She followed her calling to work in healthcare by finishing nursing school and now works in dialysis. Yania moved to Fresno where she lives with her partner Edgar and their two children. She enjoys working with members of her community and building relationships over time. Yania is featured in A PLACE TO BREATHE.


Rodrigue Kalambayi was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At a very young age, he was forced to seek refuge with his family in neighboring Uganda, due to the insecurity and wars that claimed the life of his father. After eleven years in Uganda, he came to United States in 2016 as a refugee. In 2022, he started working at Lowell Community Health Center as a Community Health Worker, something he had always aspired to do. His story is featured in the film A PLACE TO BREATHE.

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Shanna Hollich, Interim Director of Library Services, Wilson College
"This film is highly recommended and could be used across a variety of subject areas, including health sciences; sociology and social work; American studies; race, culture, and ethnic studies; global studies; and political science."

Eat Drink Films | C.J. Hirschfield
"What if health providers and practitioners prescribed ceremonies, rituals, festivals and other community activities as medicine to treat trauma? The excellent new documentary A Place To Breathe would argue that distressed refugees, in particular, would benefit greatly, and the film effectively argues this route as a way to foster resilience."