A Film about Salvadoreans in D.C.

40 Years and Still Running is a documentary film project that explores the history of the Salvadorean Diaspora in Washington DC as seen through the eyes of Salvadorean and Salvadorean-American artists – singers, poets, visual artists, dancers, and DJs. The film bears witness to the struggles and humanity of the hundreds of thousands of people from El Salvador who made, and continue to make, Washington DC and the surrounding areas their home starting in 1980 – the beginning of the mass migration fueled by the US-backed war. 

Why this film needs to be made - At a time in DC when history is being erased with every building that comes down and crane that goes up, we want our story to be a permanent part of the record. The Washington DC region is home to the largest Salvadorean population in the U.S. outside of California and is the only metropolitan region where the majority of Latinos are Salvadorean. Yet the continuous migration of people from El Salvador to DC and its impact on the city is a little-known, documented, or celebrated aspect of DC History. 

This project – through the final film, the 30+ recorded interviews, the boxes upon boxes of archival materials – will be a lasting testament to the presence and contributions of the Salvadorean diaspora in the nation’s capital.  We hope our film inspires you to dig into your own boxes, uncover another layer of history, and then tell your own story.

Quique Avilés


Quique is the vision and force behind this project. He is excited to be taking his years as a poet, performer, and trouble maker into the realm of documentary film. He is in charge of all creative decisions about the content, look, and feel of the film and shaping the overarching narrative of the film.

Hilary Binder Avilés

Executive Producer

Hilary is in charge of overall management of this project, keeping an eye on finances and leading fundraising and grant writing. She is part of the team shaping the overall progression of the film. With Delia, she helps keep Quique organized and focused so he can do what he does best.

Delia Beristain Noriega


Delia is the one who keeps our entire team on track with scheduling, outreach, and assists during filming, grant writing, ingestion and post-production as well.

Zach Roberts


Zach is in charge of the technological and production endeavors of the film. This includes the filming of interviews, ingestion of files, and post production stages. He is also the designer of the website.

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Miguel Castro Luna

Community Liaison and Researcher

Miguel Castro Luna is a community organizer who has been involved in several oral history/community projects in conjunction with artivists including Machetres, El Dia de los Muertos, La Esquina and he has been key in keeping the tradition of art and activism in D.C.

Ellie Walton

Documentary Filmmaker / Mentor / Ally

40 Years and Still Running follows in the footsteps of La Manplesa, the documentary film about the 1991 uprising in Mt. Pleasant by Filmmaker Ellie Walton who we've collaborated with in the making of this film that we view as a sister film to La Manplesa.

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Project Supervisor

Luchi has been a long-time supporter of all our artistic endeavors in D.C. Often seen walking through Brookland and Mount Pleasant, she has been a source of emotional and moral support throughout this entire project and she reminds us to have fun with the process.

If you are a believer in our artistic dreams and agree that this is a story that needs to be told by us and for us...... We need you now to help us finish this film!  This project that has truly been 40 years in the making.

Please be sure to put in the website/check/cashapp comment field: Donation for 40 Years and Still Running.

We need your help to make it the final stretch to post-production and the final product. You can make a tax-
deductible donation to the project’s fiscal sponsor, the District of Columbia Arts Center, through:

  • Writing a check to DCAC and mailing it to: 2438 18 th Street, NW, WDC 20009
  • Via the DCAC Cash App: $DCArtsCenter
  • Via DCAC’s website here: DCAC  

Many thanks to the institutions that stand behind this project:
DCAC | The Diverse City Fund |  Humanities DC | The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library | The Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs
  • Washington, D.C., USA