The UnLonely Film Festival: Best of Fest

How We Met Laurel

About the Filmmaker

Arpita Aneja is a New York-based video producer, shooter, and editor for TIME magazine. She has done many stories around the issue of immigration as well as general news, politics, sports, and entertainment. Along with TIME reporter Lily Rothman, she followed Laurel over the course of a year, learning about his life since moving to America.

Arpita was recently awarded a Webby award for her work on Welcome to America, a documentary that follows a migrant mother’s journey to find her children who were separated from her at the border. Her most recent documentary, Border Hustle, a collaboration between TIME magazine and The Texas Tribune, takes a look at how people and businesses on both sides of the border make money off of Central American migrants.

Dive Even Deeper

Try the following to connect further with the film’s story…

Draw your first encounter with an ‘angel’ who helped you

  •  In the film, we see illustrations of key events and memories of when Laurel came into contact with people who helped him in important ways. What are the key events in your life when someone stepped forward and helped you in an important way?
  • Sketch the scene using whatever drawing elements you have, paying attention to any specific details you remember in terms of clothing, time of day, environment, etc. to make the drawing as specific as possible. Consider the perspective of your helper: How did they see the scene? How did they see you? What made them come forward? How can you follow their example?


  1. Anonymous

    Barriers have no place in this world. We need to live as one.

  2. Tanya

    Wow!! What courage this young man had!! The determination, courage are just amazing. We should all follow his example!

  3. Anonymous

    Laurel is such a brave and wonderful soul. I can’t imagine what his mother had to go through to allow him to leave in search of his dreams. It’s so wonderful how the strangers you meet on the street can be so vital to your future. His positive spirit and drive shines through and is totally what has helped him overcome the many obstacles in his lie. I try not to take for granted the many things I have on a daily basis and am humble enough to recognize that the missed opportunities in my life are NOT due to lack of opportunities but rather my failure to take advantage of them by being so consumed by my fear and/or insatiable need to have everything be perfect before taking a leap.

  4. Regina Mhiripiri

    Laurel’s story was powerful, what an inspiration! To be blind and still motivated to travel the world! And then to come full circle and help others while being a reunited with his family. Amazing!

  5. Anonymous

    It takes a village


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