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Forgotten Ellis Island

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  • Forgotten Ellis Island

    "Forgotten Ellis Island" is the first film to be produced about the abandoned immigrant hospital on Ellis Island. During the great wave of immigration, twenty-two medical buildings sprawled across two islands adjacent to Ellis Island, the largest port of entry in the United States. Massive and modern, the hospital was America's first line of defense against contagious, often virulent disease. In the era before anti-biotics, tens of thousands of immigrant patients were separated from family, detained in the hospital, and healed from illness before becoming citizens. 350 babies were born in the hospital, 3,500 immigrants died there. For two years, the National Park Service gave producer, Lorie Conway, exclusive access to film the Ellis Island hospital buildings (before restoration efforts began) , as well as to interview former patients at the location. Original research was conducted over five years. Many never-before-published photographs are featured in the film as well as excerpts from oral histories with medical staff, ward matrons, and patients. As America wrestles once again with the issue of immigration, "Forgotten Ellis Island" provides a unique lens on this contentious debate. It is a powerful tribute to the best and worst of America's dealings with its new citizens-to-be. [56 minutes]

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