Stolen Dreams

  • Director

    Justin Ferrato

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2022, 12:00

  • Category

    Narrative Short

  • Format

    Arri Alexa Classic – HD

  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

OVER THE FENCE: 7 stories about getting to where you must go.

April 23, 2024 @ 9:30PM • Kaufman Astoria Studios – Zukor Theatre


A detained migrant escapes a detention center and tries to survive on the run. A fever dream into the psyche of a migrant teenager traumatized by his journey.


Justin Ferrato, DirectorTIPHANY, THIS MESS WE’RE IN
Justin Ferrato, Writer
Daniel Maldonado, Producer, LALO, H.O.M.E.
Diego Mejia, Key Cast, “Diego”HERITAGE
Brayan Angulo, Key Cast, “Miguel”, ALBERTO AND THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
Karen Contreras, Key Cast, “Adriana”, Blue Bloods
Dante Costabile, Key Cast, “Officer Wilkinson”, Jessica Jones

Director Statement

This film has been such a long journey to get to the finish line – amidst COVID, inspired by a true story about a migrant teenager in a detention center faced with institutional neglect in a solitary confinement cell.

This film is meant to be a hallucinatory dream – I wanted to explore an instinctual story about a traumatized character and explore what he see’s, hears, remembers… imagines – in the moment as we’re with our character Diego.

Having gone through a limbo process with my own visa for several years – I was plunged into a life I barely knew existed. To live in limbo… to feel like a criminal… to not know what to plan for in the future… to be nostalgic for a place you’ve never visited… I wanted to explore these feelings and find a way to raise the platform for migrant voices in America who have been detained.

A few highlights about the film:

– The film was shot on an ultra-low budget with the kindness of a an Arri Classic camera donation and personal favors in Upstate New York near Newburgh.

– Lead actor Diego Mejia – who is from El Salvador and a DACA recipient in the US – his father was placed in a detention center and has lived most of his childhood years living in limbo.

– The writer / director Justin Ferrato volunteered at a volunteer group for migrants who have gone through the detention center in 2021 and struck a relationship with both the administrators and several migrants who have lived in the detention center circuit

– ‘Stolen Dreams’ is a fiscal sponsor with Film Independent. The script stands on Coverfly’s top 6% for short narrative. Official Selection at Hollyshorts Script Festival. Finalist at ScreenCraft script competition. Finalist at WeScreenplay.

Director Biography

Justin is a filmmaker with several short films that have screened on the festival circuit over the last several years. Originally based in Brooklyn for the last decade. He directed and produced ‘Stolen Dreams’ in upstate New York.

Previous festival short films include –

‘Tiphany’ – Short Documentary’
World Premiere at Cinequest Film Festival + Broadcast distribution via Open TV Network.

– ‘This Mess We’re In’
Narrative drama – World Premiere at NY Shorts festival + Broadcast distribution via ShortsTV

Justin has worked in the film world for a decade in New York City – starting as a digital media coordinator at the Independent Filmmaker Project – a directors assistant to Terence Nance – also assistant editor for short film ‘Swimming in Your Skin Again’ and more recently as a writer /producer in creative services creating trailers at HBO.