documentary director and editor
hugo cover.jpg

American Dreams

 

American Dreams
Sponsored series directed for The Atlantic

Hugo Ortega crossed over the Mexican border and arrived in Houston, Texas, without documents and without knowing any English. Over the next few years, he would become a citizen through President Reagan's amnesty program and go from washing dishes to owning multiple restaurants. Now, he and his wife, Tracy Vaught—whom he met while working as a dishwasher in her restaurant in the 80's—are the "reigning powerhouse couple of Houston's competitive restaurant scene."

Levittown, Pennsylvania, became famous in the 1950s for being one of America's first mass-produced suburbs in the post-World War II era. Today, the neighborhoods may no longer be carbon copies of each other, but the allure and the difficulties of homeownership remain. In this documentary, we get a snapshot of a realty company that buys Levittown homes from struggling homeowners.