SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A film event at the Frida Cinema this week showcased the work of Heninger Elementary and Santa Ana High School students and for some, the plotline was all too familiar, shedding a spotlight on family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border and the journeys of unaccompanied minors looking for better lives in the U.S.
It's a story of immigration, family separation and friendship.
The film "Apart" follows the journey of a young boy, Juan, and his friend, as the two try to raise funds to buy Juan's mother a ticket to California. She's stuck in Texas.
The movie was part of an event put on by Creating Creators Thursday. It showcased the year-long work of the students.
Actor Jeremias Aguilero said the experience taught him to dream big.
"Hey don't give up, never. You can be whatever you want," Aguilero said, speaking to others his age.
The film's writer and producer Kayla Arias said she was inspired by the reality many of her schoolmates and children in her community face.
"I wanted to write a story that was relatable to most kids and most kids, maybe, like come here from Mexico and don't have their parents with them," Arias said.
One of those kids, Cesar Moscoso, also starred in "Apart." His parents are still in El Salvador. It's been more than a year.
Cesar couldn't hold back tears when he told Eyewitness News, speaking Spanish, he missed hugging them and going out with them most.
The 4th grader and his 13-year-old brother were under the care of their grandmother.
After a failed attempt to come to the U.S. as a family, Cesar said they were sent on their own for a shot at a better life. He and his brother spent a week in quarantine, and then four months separated with the then 7-year old at a shelter in Texas, unable to stop thinking about his mother and father.
Cesar said he has stayed in touch with his parents over social media.
The acting experience and the reunification of mother and son at the end of the film got Cesar hoping.
After a night of celebration at the premiere, he thought he may come home to a surprise reunion with his own parents, but sometimes that is just in the movies.
"Apart" and the other films showcased at the Frida Cinema can be viewed on Creating Creators' YouTube channel.