Karla's Arrival

A 19-year-old mother raising her child on the same streets she grew up on reflects the subculture of Managua's second-generation street kids.

Karlas arrival 01
Premiere Date
May 6, 2012
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2011 OneWorld Human Rights Festival-Jury Award
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2011 DocumentaMadrid-Second Prize Award
  • Suidgeest koen filmmaker bio

    Koen Suidgeest

    A graduate of one of the UK's better film schools, Koen Suidgeest has dedicated his professional life to working as a director, writer, producer, and photographer, primarily in documentaries. His interest resides in socially engaged projects. With his documentary Casting (2006) he became the first Dutch filmmaker to be nominated for a Spanish Academy Award (Goya). He has traveled five continents and resided in four countries, the past 14 years in Spain. Koen is father to Paula and Ana.

    Lobsenz emily filmmaker bio

    Emily Lobsenz

    Graduating Cum Laude from Amherst College, Emily Lobsenz directed two award-winning films. She earned a Masters at The Courtauld Institute of Art, in London and received highest honors. Emily has since done award-winning work in camera and production design for film and television in Europe and the US. She is currently directing the documentary film Ipuina Konatu about the survival of Basque culture and developing a narrative feature set in New Orleans. Emily is fluent in Spanish, French, and Basque, an elite triathlete and long-distance runner, and a cellist.

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    The Film

    Karla's Arrival follows 19-year old Sujeylin Aguilar and her baby Karla, who live as part of a group of kids in a small park in Managua, Nicaragua, as they struggle through the first year of the child's life.

    Months before the birth, Sujeylin is still a glue addict who lives off the generosity of her drug-dealing boyfriend and the NGOs peppering the city. She doesn't expect the arrival of her baby to change her own life considerably. She simply plans to raise her in the park where she has been living with the group of colorful characters she considers her only family. She never imagined the scope of the challenges and dangers she and her young daughter would face.

    Sujeylin kicks her glue habit weeks before giving birth. Although she is strong, she is still vulnerable to picking up her old vices at the first difficulty she encounters. There are many other challenges too. The park is an unhealthy place for a newborn, not to mention its dangers and instability. Even worse,the police could show up any time to take Karla away from her.

    Driven by a desire to create something she herself never had — a true family — the young mother makes three attempts to escape their perilous sitaution in the park. Days after Karla’s birth, Sujeylin rents a room but is soon expelled for not keeping up payments. After a period back on the streets, Sujeylin forces herself to travel to the countryside to live with her own mother and sisters. She's back two months later, having opened old family wounds which, when she was just 12, were the reason she fled to the streets in the first place. Finally, she decides to take a young man up on his offer to live with him, sacrificing her youthful desires of unmitigated freedom for the safety of the baby.

    Karla's Arrival is an intense personal journey of a young woman's venture into motherhood under extreme circumstances.