Inside USD

Border Film Week Brings Hot Topics to USD

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Beginning Tuesday, March 4, and continuing through Friday, March 7, the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute (TBI) takes viewers into a land that is unknown to some and all too familiar to others. In conjunction with USD’s Social Issues Committee and the Center for Christian Spirituality, the institute presents Border Film Week to showcase independent documentaries focusing on various topics related to life in Mexico.

“Border Film Week will serve to increase awareness about the topics raised in the documentaries, such as Mexican migration to the United States, U.S.-Mexico border relations, and the Japanese community in Tijuana” said Charles Pope of the TBI. “TBI is interested in supporting the arts and culture of the border region, which was a motivation for us to support and organize Border Film Week.”

Documentaries to be shown include:

  • “The Invisible Chapel,” by USD alumnus Juan Carlos Frey. The film details a service for more than 100 undocumented migrant workers from Mexico who lived in the shadows of some of San Diego’s wealthiest communities. A lingering clash with the immigrant congregation forced the migrants and volunteers to demolish the worship site. This film presentation is also co-sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa and the Catholic Social Thought committee.

  • Several short films by students at High Tech High related to the U.S./Mexico border, including:

    • “History of the US-Mexico Border,” by Brianna Blackmon, Rachel Roberts and Melissa Wendell (featuring an interview with TBI director David Shirk, Ph.D.)

    • “SAL Beyond the Border: A Six Minutes Special,” by Austin Harbert, Sharlyn Heinz and Laura Mitchell

    • “Hot Topics: Extending the Fence,” by Jessica Albarran, Christopher Connell and Guadalupe Melendez

    • “Talk the Talk,” by Junior Macias and Zara Steinhart (featuring an interview with USD alumnus Enrique Morones)

    • “6-8 Minutes: U.S. Economic Dependency on Migrant Workers,” by Ryan Curtice, Austin Jones and Jan-Nathan Milan

    • “Working Class Heroes: The Lives of Migrant Workers,” by Vanessa Figueroa, Nicolette Harris and Mari Jacobson (featuring an interview with Enrique Morones)

  • “Beyond Borders: The Debate Over Human Migration,” by Brian Ging. “Beyond Borders” moves past the headlines and takes an in-depth look at the hot-button issues of legal and illegal immigration. The film explores the psychological forces driving the immigration controversy from both sides of the debate. “Beyond Borders” travels across the U.S. and beyond to give voices to those on the front-line of this issue, including candid interviews with U.S. Border Patrol agents, radio celebrities, demographers, the Minute Men, potential migrants, and a host of experts including Noam Chomsky (Distorted Morality) and Gustavo Arellano (Ask A Mexican).

  • “The Closest Mexico to Japan/El México mas Cercano de”, by Shinpei Takeda. The short documentary reveals the rather unknown history of the Japanese community in Tijuana that has existed since the 1920s. The documentary weaves the images taken by the first documentary photographer of Tijuana, Kingo Nonaka, with testimonials from the first, second and third generations.

All screenings will be shown in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice.

For a detailed listing and times, go to With the exception of “The Closest Mexico to Japan”, all of the documentary screenings will be followed by an informal panel discussion that will help to define the issue and foster constructive dialogue.

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