Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Border Fence Documentary Comes To South Texas

Press Release
Viva Zapata Films

A controversial new film about the border fence is coming to South Texas. The Wall, a documentary about the construction of a fence along the US/Mexico border will play two dates in Texas, July 17th at McAllen's El Cine De Rey and July 18th at San Antonio's Guadalupe Theatre. The film, which takes place in Arizona, California, and Texas, took 3 years to complete.

the wall documentary

Director Ricardo Martinez captures many perspectives impacted by the fence. The Wall follows several law enforcement officials, border town residents, and the Minutemen as they each faced the reality of having a 25 foot Wall being built in their backyard. Border residents like Gloria Garza of Granjeno watch as the fence is erected and new problems start to arrive.

the wall documentary,gloria garza
the wall documentary,secure fence act

Ricardo and his crew even managed to follow and track several undocumented immigrants in Mexico as they prepared to cross the border, and ultimately climb The Wall. Using never before seen surveillance footage and night vision cameras, a mysterious and sometimes dangerous world emerges.

the wall documentary

On the other side of the spectrum, the film features many border town residents and local officials. Small towns like Arivaca, McAllen, Granjeno, and Brownsville all make appearances in the film. Capturing a moment in time, the film tracks the No Border Wall Coalition's grassroots efforts to organize Rio Grande Valley residents against the fence. Showing the power of community, watch as Valley residents protest and unite to change the fence plan.

the wall documentary,gloria garza
the wall documentary,McAllen

The filming was not always sunny and nice. Ricardo's film crew often had to scale back equipment and camp out deep in the desert to catch traffickers, immigrants, Border Patrol, and vigilante groups on camera. Vigilante groups like the Minutemen make a particularly unsettling appearance in The Wall as Martinez captured a few of them making some 'controversial' statements about the US and Hispanics.

the wall documentary,minutemen
the wall documentary,minutemen

At one point, the film crew traveled to Altar, Mexico to interview immigrants preparing to cross the border illegally. Made up of 'huespedes' or safehouses, the town was essentially run by the Carteles in the area, which didn't reassure the film crew of their safety.

"Thinking back, that probably was against my better judgment, but I felt like it made a helluva story on camera," says Ricardo grinning. "The local priest and church basically told us as long as we stuck with him, we'd be fine. We did and in the end, it was actually kind of a nice town."

The film plays on Friday, July 17th at 8:00 PM at El Cine De Rey in McAllen and Saturday July 18th at 8:00pm at the Guadalupe Theatre in San Antonio. Tickets are $5. Q&A and reception follow. Screening Details and information can be found at thewalldocumentary.com or cineelrey.com.

For any questions regarding this press release, to review the film for your publication, or to contact the filmmaker email info@thewalldocumentary.com. To watch clips of the film visit thewalldocumentary.com, youtube.com/thewalldoc, vimeo.com/thewall, or friend our Facebook page!

Official Synopsis

In 2006, Congress passed The Secure Fence Act calling for the construction of over 700 miles of fence along the US/Mexico border. Fueled by the War on Drugs and the debate on Immigration Reform, politicians jumped at the chance to "secure our borders". They were not prepared for what followed.

Filmed over two years, The Wall, a feature documentary, chronicles the impact of constructing a border fence along the Southwest. From policy makers to citizens of border towns in Texas, Arizona, and California, the debate elevates as residents respond to having a fence built in their backyard.
Gloria Garza sat on her porch, in Granjeno, Texas. She was enjoying her stretch of land by the Rio Grande River, when a man from the Department of Homeland Security arrived with a piece of paper. He asked her to sign a letter granting permission to build a 25 foot wall on her property. She thought it was a joke.

In Nogales, Arizona, Sheriff Tony Estrada, completed his routine check of the border wall. Since the border fence had been built, violence and immigrant deaths are steadily rising. This is not a policy he could believe in, but few were listening.

Determined to stop immigrant crossing, the Minutemen had taken matters into their own hands. They patrolled the area intercepting immigrants and notifying border patrol. Armed with ammunition and an ideology, they openly advocated more fencing to help their objectives.

At the epicenter of this controversy, Wilfredo and Adan are undocumented immigrants with a lot at stake. Wilfredo is trying to get across the border and will have to pass several layers of fencing and security. Adan waits for his father who must make the same dangerous trip he himself took several years earlier. How will their lives be changed by The Wall?

Director, Ricardo Martinez brings The Wall to life; intertwining rare surveillance footage and controversial interviews. He and his crew often risked their own safety while filming.

At the forefront of the debate, the film includes commentary by The Texas Border Coalition, The Southwest Border Sheriff's Coalition, No Border Wall Coalition, the Minutemen, Border Patrol officers, congressional hearings, and more.

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