Far from his family in Chile, sheepherder Eraldo Pacheco must endure harsh conditions and loneliness in the high desert and isolated mountain pastures of the American west as he strives for a better life for his family. This immersive documentary offers a lyrical meditation on what it means to be an immigrant.

“Caballero and Khan spare no preamble in making the audience face the nuanced realities of migrant workers. A rare glimpse at the unending questions immigrants face before and after committing to a physical, emotional and mental struggle that tests their fortitude in a foreign land.”

Stanley Nelson, Director of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Synopsis: 

In the quiet, bucolic Patagonian countryside in the town of Bahia Murta with 587 inhabitants we meet Eraldo Pacheco, a thoughtful man who has recently arrived at a momentous decision. “Things are worse here than ever,” Eraldo tells his father as he announces his plan to move to the United States to fulfill a three-year contract tending sheep almost 6,000 miles away in rural Idaho. In this observational documentary of impressive beauty and painterly cinematic images, the imbalance of economic forces is seen in high relief.

Once in the U.S., Eraldo encounters Jhonny from Peru, a young man who has also made the difficult decision to leave his family behind. Both face the struggles ahead with characteristic strength, as well as moments of deep uncertainty. Did they make the right decision? Ultimately, their paths diverge as each faces the tension between being providers for their families and being present in their lives.

Reviews

“With sensitivity, and aided by impressive lensing, Khan and Caballero capture the dilemma of family men forced to separate from their loved ones due to forces beyond their control.”

Basil Tsiokos, Director of Programming DOC NYC

“This intimate experience of the immigration issue provides great scope within a compellingly specific narrative.”

Carla Gutierrez, Editor of When Two World Collide and Chavela

"Not to be missed! Gaucho del Norte explores many compelling themes… subtle yet forceful in how it speaks to the viewer. Educators can challenge their students with the various themes explored, and students will gain another perspective, while understanding the concept of empathy just a bit more.”

Walter Montano, Boston University Washington Programs, BU Study Abroad/Global Programs

"A profound and unforgettable meditation on sacrifice, responsibility and isolation, Gaucho del Norte portrays the immigrant struggle with great visual poetry.”

Tristine Styler, Producer of The Man Who Knew Infinity
Director's Commentary: 

Our film focuses on a lesser known avenue of entry to the U.S. for specially skilled migrant workers from Chile, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia and other countries who are recruited for this crucial but difficult agricultural work. Aside from the low wages and intense physical demands of the job, over the course of their three-year contracts the loneliness and isolation these workers experience is profound, and in the film becomes a broader metaphor for the sense of dislocation experienced by immigrants arriving in a new place.

We wanted to make a film about immigration outside the usual context that the issue is being covered from and talked about. In doing so, we strove to make something visceral and immersive that would give room for people to think differently about the subject, and to foster a discussion that can gravitate between an array of different topics within that framework.