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Border of Broken Dreams?
Migrants attempting to cross the borders, minutemen trying to stop them, documented in new project

4 migrants walking
Border Film Project (Abrams)

night sky taken by migrant
Border Film Project (Abrams)

minuteman at target range
Border Film Project (Abrams)

rest area sign
Border Film Project (Abrams)

man taking photo
Border Film Project (Abrams)

border patrol helicopter
Border Film Project (Abrams)

young girl taking photo of self
Border Film Project (Abrams)

2 migrants crossing railroad tracks
Border Film Project (Abrams)

migrant crossing stream
Border Film Project (Abrams)

group sitting in ditch
Border Film Project (Abrams)

Q: Are you planning to exhibit the photos in the UK? Where/when?

We've made a few contacts in London and Oxford, but there are no details to report at the moment.

Q: Did you find yourself in danger at any time during the project?

We were very conscious of our surroundings at all times. When we distributed cameras in Nuevo Laredo, one of the most violent border towns south of Texas, we made sure to leave before the sun went down and military trucks started patrolling the streets. Other than carelessly filming in a drug neighborhood in Nogales and getting rocks thrown at us, we escaped any real danger.

Q: What surprised you most about the photographs you received back?

We were surprised at the overall quality of photos. In some cases, it's hard to tell if a professional photographer took the photo, or a migrant risking his/her life.

The amateurness of other photos is extremely lovable. You really get the sense that you are looking through the eyes of the people on the ground. It's very personal and an intimate glimpse into this reality.

There were 3 migrants that did an amazing job capturing their entire journey on one roll from the migrant shelter in Mexico to their arrival in the U.S. We call them "journey rolls" and are arguably the most interesting photos in our exhibition and book.

One migrant in particular was pretty ballsy with his camera. He took a picture of a Border Patrol helicopter as it descended upon his group.

Q: What do you think the release of the Border Film Project will change, if anything?

Most people already have pretty defined beliefs about what needs to be done along the border. But after spending months in that area and interviewing people on all sides, we found it to be extremely complex and hard to take sides. The truth usually falls somewhere in the middle. The most rewarding part of the project so far has been when people say our project helped them empathize with the other side migrant supporters seeing minutemen as people with genuine concerns, and minutemen supporters seeing migrants as good people doing what they can to support their families. We hope that continues to happen.

Q: What do you think should be done about border control and illegal immigration?

We are a completely non-partisan project and therefore do not want to take an official stance on specific policies. Our project is about showing the day-to-day reality of the people on the ground. It's about them, not us. Everyone agrees that U.S. border and immigration policies aren't working and must be reformed. The details of such reform, however, remain up for debate.

Ultimately, this project aims to simplify and humanize the highly complex and often polarizing issues surrounding immigration. To accomplish this goal, we have tried to be as inclusive as possible. We want to challenge our audience to look through two very different, yet similar, sets of eyes. Migrant and Minutemen photographers come from very different backgrounds, and not surprisingly, they have photographed different sides of the issue and they speak of immigration with very different language. Yet, paradoxically, they share one profound connection. At the end of the day, both sides would agree that they are documenting a situation that should not be happening. If we can get migrant supporters to see the minutemen as people, and minutemen supporters to understand the desperation of the migrant journey, perhaps we can start to craft a solution.