Escuela (School)
A documentary by Hannah Weyer
US, 2002, 53 minutes, Color, DVD, Spanish/English, Subtitled


There are over 800,000 students enrolled in migrant education programs in the United States and, of those, only 45-50% ever finish high school. ESCUELA, the sequel to Hannah Weyer’s critically acclaimed documentary LA BODA, personalizes these glaring statistics through the honest portrait of a teenage Mexican-American farm worker, Liliana Luis.

ESCUELA is a clear-eyed view into the lives of contemporary Mexican American migrants and their struggles to educate their children while obtaining employment. Centered around the life of Liliana, a daughter entering her first year of high school, Hannah Weyer follows the back-and-forth movement of the family between their home in Texas near the borderlands and the California agricultural fields. Despite the best efforts of the school systems to accommodate students like Liliana, the social and emotional life of this young woman is constantly in flux. This is an important work revealing the difficulties of girl life on the border in a way that no textbook could.
—Joe Austin, Popular Culture Studies, Bowling Green University


  • A 2003 Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Selected DVD for Young Adults
  • San Antonio Cine Festival – Special Jury Prize
  • South by Southwest – Special Jury Prize
  • Double Take Documentary Film Festival – MTV/News/Docs Award
  • Dallas Video Festival
  • Chicago Latino Film Festival
  • Cine Accion San Francisco International Latino Film Festival
  • Cine Las Americas Festival
  • Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival
  • Atlanta Film Festival
  • Tulipanes Latino Film and Arts Festival
  • Manchester Film Festival
  • CineSol Latino Film Festival
  • LadyFest East
  • Mujerfest Texas
  • Broadcast Nationally on P.O.V.


Escuela‘s calm, candle-like vigilance is remarkably illuminating and deeply affecting. More important, it opens viewers to the lives of people some of us may never come in contact with, and makes us care.”
—Belinda Acosta, The Austin Chronicle

“In her 2000 documentary La Boda…Hannah Weyer skillfully opened a window onto a family of Texas migrant workers…It did not overtly pull on heartstrings. In fact what was remarkable about the Luis family was the way in which it handled its plight without bitterness or self-pity….Weyer takes us back inside the Luis household, this time to focus on Elizabeth’s younger sister and the impact the family’s poverty is having on her education.”
—Mike McDaniel, Houston Chronicle

“Speaking as a veteran migrant educator, the film accurately depicts the plight of highly mobile migrant teenagers who strive to finish high school in spite of the many challenges they face.”
—Pamela G. Wrigley, National Migrant Education Hotline

“Director Hannah Weyer’s haunting Escuela…lays out the problems of such a peripatetic life through the eyes of Liliana Luis. Rather than make sweeping statements, the hour long film simply and effectively presents Luis’ experience, as her Mexican American family bounces between Texas and California.”
—Scott Sandell, Los Angeles Times

“Classroom shuffle. In Escuela, documentary filmmaker Hannah Weyer evocatively tracks the complicated high school life of teenager Liliana Luis.”
—Mike Duffy, Detroit Free Press