Episode 173 – Arturo Muyshondt

Filmmaker Arturo Muyshondt seeks to share ‘critical urgency’ of immigrant stories
By LA Stories Staff Los Angeles
PUBLISHED 7:30 AM PT Feb. 12, 2024

Arturo Muyshondt was just 11 years old when he became a soldier in the middle of a civil war in El Salvador. He says that growing up, all he saw around him was danger: guns, bombs and death.

In addition to being given a gun and told to fight, Muyshondt was also given a video camera — and with that, his life changed forever.

“In a lot of ways, it saved me because I didn’t have Teddy bears at 11. I had machine guns and automatic rifles around me,” he said. “I wanted people to see what I was seeing, which is really no future.”

In the latest episode of “LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez,” Muyshondt shares about how he eventually came to the U.S. in search of the American Dream. He became a successful banker, but his experience with his camera during the civil war in Central America stayed with him.

Knowing that his experience as a child was one many children face in Central America, he was moved to give up his career and create movies and documentaries that focus on the children traumatized by war.

Muyshondt’s latest film “Fuego” explores the stories of native women in Guatemala who fight to keep their children with them.

“The real way to have a clear path to solutions is to focus on what’s happening down there because if we regenerate that vicious cycle in Central America, then they can have their own dream, the Guatemalan dream, instead of needing the American dream,” Muyshondt said.

Now, Muyshondt is also creating a foundation, called Caras, in order to help the undocumented children that have come to the U.S. in search of the American Dream, just as he did. He notes that hundreds of thousands of children have come here, only to end up on the streets, in gangs or even trafficked.

Muyshondt hopes to create entrepreneurship opportunities for them once they are here. Additionally, he’s working on a docuseries in order to put faces to those numbers of children coming here.

“My hope is that we can get somebody who really understands the critical urgency of these stories,” he said. “We have a lack of representation in our stories and our demographics as Latinos, as Indigenous, certainly as Central Americans. Our stories are important.

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