Border Stories

Border Stories dubs itself “a Mosaic Documentary,” and, not unlike mosaics, this collection of 22 shorts has an elevated, canonical, yet still modest air. The short, five-minute-or-less film vignettes successfully bring each side of the U.S.-Mexican border closer together in our minds by drawing attention to our shared universality and humanity.

Made up of a three-person crew (plus one web producer), and ring-led by Ben Fundis, each episode is smartly shot, and the interviews well-conducted. One of the more compelling pieces concerns Jose Rivera, an 18-year-old who, though raised in America, was deported to Mexico after getting into a fight with a friend and left in jail due to lack of a social security number. As Rivera is interviewed on a bench outside in Nogales, we become aware of the backdrop of locals just behind him, who appear indifferent to his story.

The starkness of Rivera’s tale, along with the way he tells it, is enough to leave you reeling, at least as much as one can after a 125-second narrative.

The episode Nogales: Born and Raised, has a matter-of-fact quality. It’s reality without the melodrama of El Norte or the crassness of A Day Without A Mexican.

From the Tucson volunteers who fill water tanks in the desert so crossers don’t die of thirst, to the fisherman who share the Rio Bravo, to the High Pointer of the Campo Minutemen, who scouts for illegal crossers from the top of his camping truck, nothing is a simple as we thought it was, and there’s a flip side to every story.

Oh, and if you’re looking for something a bit less finite, or melancholy, there’s always a piece on hipster musicians the Nortec Collective.

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