Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 6, 2013.

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Hundreds of migrants die every year along the U.S.-Mexico border. Others are trying to save their lives. This is their story.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has helped us get this far!  We reached our initial goal but we can still use your help!  (our goal was the minimum we needed to complete this film and and to begin facilitating screenings). Every additional dollar pledged will enable us to screen the film more widely and share this important story with even more people. We sincerely appreciate your continued support! 

Please share this project with anyone you know who might be interested in lending support, whether through pledges of by helping in other ways, such as facilitating screenings, getting the film in the door at a local festival, movie theater, or university.  Like the film on Facebook and follow on Twitter.  More information will be forthcoming on the film's website at www.humanitarianfilm.org.

The film is almost complete! We need your help to get it finished so that this important story can be shared. All donations and pledges are fully tax deductible through our sponsorship by the Center for Independent Documentary, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (direct donations through CID can also be made here).

Synopsis:

"We Have a Wall: Saving Lives on the Tinaja Trail" is the story of undocumented migration and humanitarian service, told from the perspectives of four undocumented immigrants (three of whom have recently been deported to Mexico and one who chose to return to Mexico voluntarily after working in Los Angeles for a number of years), as well as the volunteers who place water, food, and first aid supplies along the migratory trails in attempts to save the lives of some of the hundreds of migrants who die every year crossing into the United States from Mexico.

More than a hundred recently deported individuals at a migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
More than a hundred recently deported individuals at a migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

 What Your Support Will Accomplish:

We will use funds raised here on Kickstarter to 1) complete the film's post-production, including the edit, color correction, audio sweetening, and creating a final audio mix so the film sounds great, whether in your DVD/Blu-ray player or in a theater during the festival run, 2) to create a screening copy of the film (HDCam), 3) translate the film into Spanish for screening south of the U.S. border, and 4) to get the word out and facilitate screenings of the film at festivals and in interested communities across the U.S. and Mexico.

A Humane Borders water tank in Southern Arizona.
A Humane Borders water tank in Southern Arizona.

We need to raise our goal, at a minimum, to make this possible, and anything over that amount will directly help us share this important story with more people and more communities across the U.S. and Mexico and beyond.  Thank you for your support!

Filming at the Wall (in Southern California)
Filming at the Wall (in Southern California)

Like the film on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and get the latest updates (and watch more footage) at our webpage, www.humanitarianfilm.org.

Hundreds of unidentified migrants are buried in cemeteries like this one in southern California.
Hundreds of unidentified migrants are buried in cemeteries like this one in southern California.

The Project:

Natural water sources in the American Southwest are extremely rare and, where they do exist, often extremely hard to get to (think: bottom of the “Grand Canyon,” for instance). For centuries, survival in this unforgiving land has hinged on one’s ability to locate natural cavities or wind-carved cisterns in rocks called tinajas (tee-NAH-hahs). Capturing rain during the rare desert storm, and shaded from the sun, these catch-basins— often only inches across, centimeters deep, and teeming with insects and their larvae— are precious, lifesaving treasures to desert-dwelling animals … and desert-traversing humans.

A cache of food and water left by the Samaritans on a migratory trail in southern Arizona.
A cache of food and water left by the Samaritans on a migratory trail in southern Arizona.

It seems reproachfully paradoxical, then, that this region would today host the primary trail of hope for thousands of people seeking gainful work and the promise of a brighter future. It’s a desperate journey— one that has cost the lives, and ended the hopes, of hundreds of people per year since 1999.

It is likewise a politically supercharged arena; a legal, moral and political maelstrom poised like a flame near a tinderbox of sentiment.

For years, volunteers have dropped water and aid containers along popular routes of migration and have searched the desert for dying immigrants. In one case, the Transborder Immigrant Tool presents itself as a technological tinaja: an art project that promises to guide migrants to caches of water placed along migratory trails.

Hiking the migrant trails with the Tucson Samaritans.
Hiking the migrant trails with the Tucson Samaritans.

To some, these are selfless and inspirational efforts that give new and poignant context to the phrase “the Art of Survival.” To others, such action irresponsibly induces illegal border crossing, tantamount to aiding and abetting unlawful conduct. From the perspectives of both the undocumented migrants and the aid-givers, “We Have a Wall” provides a compelling tale of life and death, and compassionate service, along the Tinaja Trail.

The film examines the social, legal, and humanitarian aspects wrapped up in this difficult topic. It tells the stories of immigrants crossing the border and of the volunteers attempting to save their lives, all while seeking to discover where true “humanitarian service” ends and where irresponsible conduct begins. The project is fiscally sponsored by the Center for Independent Documentary (documentaries.org) and is eligible to receive tax deductible donations under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.

The Wall that divides the U.S. and Mexico, near Jacumba, CA.
The Wall that divides the U.S. and Mexico, near Jacumba, CA.

(“We Have a Wall” is a feature length documentary film coming in the fall of 2013, formerly titled, “The Art of Survival: Life and Death on the Tinaja Trail” during the film's production.)

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We are fortunate that the film is nearly complete! We do need a few things (like an audio mix, Spanish subtitles, an HDCam screening tape, and funds to begin to facilitate screenings) that will cost money, but we know we can accomplish these projects when this Kickstarter campaign is successful. The biggest hurdle we will face in the coming weeks and months will be getting our first Film Festival acceptance. After a festival premiere, we plan to screen the film in other venues, such as at universities and in other interested communities. We can do all of this with your help. Thank you!

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Funding period

- (32 days)