For the third year, the Trans-Border Institute (TBI), part of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, will host Border Film Week. Scheduled to run from March 29 through April 1, TBI’s interim director, Charles Pope, is hopeful that this year’s films will continue to enhance the understanding USD students have of the border issues that exist between the United States and Mexico.
“Our objective is for the film series to serve as an educational tool for both USD students and the bi-national community, to inform and educate regarding the border issues with Mexico,” said Pope. “This series provides an effective medium to address many important topics TBI addresses in the classroom through its programming, but in an entertaining format.” Pope explains, “It’s a great medium to communicate with our students.”
This year, four exciting films will be introduced to USD and its neighboring binational communities:
Producer Laura Castañeda kicks off Border Film Week with “The Devil’s Breath,” a documentary, which tells the stories of undocumented victims of the 2007 California Wildfires. Laura and her team interviewed victims of the fires, their health care providers and family members left behind. Castañeda is a freelance journalist and assistant professor in the radio and television department at San Diego City College. In addition, she hosts her own television program called “Stories de la Frontera,” a bilingual human interest magazine show.
Tuesday’s film, “7 Soles” is a full-length film and will include commentary from director Pedro Ultreras. The film follows a smuggler who is hired to smuggle undocumented migrants into the United States and his struggles when he wants to end his career as a smuggler. Ultreras was born in Durango, Mexico and is a three time Emmy-nominated news reporter. As a journalist, he covered national and international news for 16 years in countries around the world including the Middle East, Europe, Mexico and Latin America. Ultreras’ interests led him to move to New York City and to study filmmaking and photography.
Producer Yolanda Cruz is an indigenous Chatino from Oaxaca, Mexico and has a passion to increase the representation of indigenous people in the media. Her films have been featured internationally, including showings at the Sundance Film Festival, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the National Institute of Cinema in Mexico City. At this year’s Border Film Week, Cruz will showcase and provide commentary for “2501 Migrants.” The documentary explores art, the artist and the indigenous community in the context of global migration.
TBI’s Border Film Week wraps up April 1 with “El Muro.” Filmmaker Greg Rainoff introduces the documentary about the human and environmental consequences of the border fence between San Ysidro, California and Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. Rainoff has a degree in human ecology and studied filmmaking at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. He has won four Emmys for his work as a visual artist on the “Star Trek” series.
— Melissa Wagoner
Admission to Border Film Week is free and open to the public. Each film begins at 6:00 pm at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre. No RSVP required.