Border Film Week

Seeing the bigger picture.

Visual media makes it hard to look away from injustice. It's one thing to read about the harsh realities of the border, quite another to watch someone talk about the ruthless drug cartels that shape their everyday experience. At the Trans-Border Institute, we believe in the transformative power of film. Since 2007, we've hosted Border Film Week, an annual documentary film festival that brings more than 500 people to campus each February for screenings, workshops, and critical discussions with filmmakers, faculty, and outside experts.

Border Film Week gives students, educators, and the greater community an up close look at the people and culture of the Americas, adding diverse voices and faces to our conventional research methods.

Past series highlights include:

  • The Devil's Breath (Presspass Int'l/UCSD-TV) offers an in-depth look at the impact of October 2007 wildfires on three groups of migrants heading north from Mexico.
  • Purgatory / Purgatorio (Rodrigo Reyes, Director) re-imagines the Mexico/U.S. border as a mythical place comparable to Dante's purgatory.
  • La Tierra de los Adioses (Stefani Saintonge, Director) follows the lives of the two parts of one family from a small, rural Mexican town that has suffered 50% migration to the U.S.
  • Reportero (Bernardo Ruiz, Director) follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at an independent newsweekly as they resist drug cartels and corrupt officials in an effort to report the news.