Still from COVER/AGE
Still from COVER/AGE

On Demand


by Set Hernandez Rongkilyo
COVER/AGE follows organizers from the immigrant health justice movement in California seeking healthcare for all.
2010  ·  25m  ·  
About the Film

COVER/AGE examines the lack of healthcare access for undocumented immigrants in California, and how two undocumented individuals are advocating to fight this exclusion. One protagonist is Emma, an elderly Pilipina caregiver, who has spent over a decade providing care for others. Over the course of the film, we see Emma get ready early in the morning to care for an elderly patient who is not much older than her. Ironically, while Emma was providing care to insured, ailing patients, she herself was battling both illness and the U.S. health system which excluded her simply because of her immigration status. Emma’s story highlights how undocumented domestic workers are integrated in the healthcare industry, but they themselves don’t have access to the care they deserve in order to maintain their own wellness.

The other protagonist is Héctor (they/them), one of the young adult founders of the immigrant health movement in California. Through the film, we learn of their important activism and organizing, from mobilizing around healthcare with legislators in the state capitol to training other undocumented immigrants to advocate for themselves. While Héctor is engaged in the bigger realm of legislative transformation, their personal journey unveils a deeper analysis of what health justice means: Beyond the need to visit the doctor’s office, access to wellness for all communities must include a more holistic healing that recognizes traumas communities have accrued from their lived experiences.

As Emma and Héctor navigate the complex health policy system, critical gaps in a health system that excludes undocumented migrants reveal the profound and harmful impact on the community. At the same time, steadfast organizing by community leaders and advocates underscores the resilience of immigrants in the face of these challenges. As the conversation around universal healthcare continues to gain momentum on the national stage, this film highlights the urgency of expanding healthcare access to undocumented people by centering the unwavering voices of immigrant health justice leaders.

Upcoming Screenings

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In the Press
Balitang America
Color Lines
Denzel Tongue, Carolina Gamero, Whelma Cabanawan, Almas Sayeed, Shervan Sebastian, Sarah Dar and Jyotswaroop Bawa
Production Company
California Immigrant Policy Centre
About the Director

Set Hernandez Rongkilyo

Portrait of Set Hernandez Rongkilyo – Axel Dupeux for the Open Society Foundations
Portrait of Set Hernandez Rongkilyo – Axel Dupeux for the Open Society Foundations

Set Hernandez Rongkilyo is an undocumented immigrant filmmaker and community organizer whose roots come from Bicol, Philippines. They are the fruit of their parents’ sacrifices, their siblings’ resilience, and their community’s nurturing. Set envisions a filmmaking landscape that centers equity and abundance, where all artists have the resources to thrive using the unique skill sets they embody. Set’s short films have been televised, featured, and awarded in film festivals across the U.S. As part of the inaugural cohort of the Disruptors Fellowship by Joey Solloway’s 5050by2020 and the Center for Cultural Power, Set is developing a half-hour, TV comedy pilot about the undocumented experience. Set also directed/produced the short documentary “COVER/AGE” (2019) about healthcare expansion for undocumented adults. They served as Impact Producer for projects such as “In Plain Sight” and the award-winning “Call Her Ganda” (Tribeca, 2018). Since 2010, Set has been organizing around migrant justice issues from education equity to deportation defense. Along with Rahi Hasan, they are the co-founder of the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective which advances equity for undocumented immigrants in the media industry. They are the recipient of numerous awards including the DOC NYC Documentary Industry New Leaders, the Firelight Impact Producer Lab Fellowship, and the Soros Justice Fellowship. They have spoken about people-centered filmmaking on panels across the country including the Film Independent Forum and the Sundance Film Festival.

Other films by Set Hernandez Rongkilyo