Starting August 5th, audiences will be able to watch “Mija,” the new Disney documentary, for free in select theaters. This run will last for a week in select theaters, and will later move on to a traditional theater run in order to qualify for the Academy Awards. The film will be avaialable to stream on Disney+ this September 16th.
“Mija” follows two daughters of undocumented immigrants, Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, who bond over their shared experiences, the responsibility they have to their households and their guilt of having been born in America. The film premiered in festivals to great acclaim, and was swiftly acquired by Disney, who’s currently working on expanding their roster of documentaries.
“Our goal is to build global empathy through authentic storytelling and to embrace the creative nonfiction form,” said Marjon Javadi, VP of Documentary Film & Docuseries for Disney Original Documentary, in an interview with Variety. He explains that while their selection of films are adult oriented, they’re also family friendly.
Javadi explains that the studio hadn’t completed the film’s ratings in time for its theatrical release. “But rather than pushing our entire release plans, we decided simply to keep our current releases and open them to the public. This film is a love letter to immigrants, their children and the power of a dream,” he said.
“Mija” was directed by Isabel Castro, a seasoned filmmaker and four time Emmy nominee, who’s previously directed the critically acclaimed documentaries “Darlin” and “USA v Scott.”
The film began its production in 2019 and continued on during the pandemic, forcing Castro to operate with a smaller crew and to adapt on the go. “As a teenager, I felt like there was a shortage of stories about what it meant to come of age as an immigrant or as the child of immigrants in the United States,” said Castro. “I wanted to tell the kind of story I craved myself, as a Mexican immigrant when I was figuring out my identity, family, and community.” She says that having her film available to stream on Disney+ is her “biggest professional and personal achievement.”