2019 Schedule

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Opening Night: The Southern Border

September 13, 2019

6:30 PM – 10 PM

Jack Morton Auditorium, The George Washington University,

Washington, D.C.

In partnership with the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute

Keynote Special Guest: Norberto Briceño

Director of Social Media at Voto Latino & Co-Founder of Pero Like on BuzzFeed

Hello Mexico

Opening Shorts Program

Time: 2:36

USA (English) 2018: Short drama; Color

Two young lovers must say goodbye as one is getting deported.

Richard E. Haywood, writer/director

Tin Can

Opening Shorts Program

Time: 20 min

USA (English/Spanish) 2018; Short drama; Multiple Festival Awards

J.C. came to America as a child. Now an adult, he’s still undocumented but has managed to persevere and prosper by working as a rodeo clown. At the border with Mexico he has a choice to make.

Pat Battistini, writer/director/editor. 

25 Texans in the Land of Lincoln

Opening Shorts Program

Time: 34 min

USA – Texas, Illinois (English) 2018; Short documentary

The Mexican-American War is the war Mexicans never forget and Americans never remember. An unusual trophy from the war is the prosthetic leg of General Santa Anna. Twenty-five history students from San Antonio raise questions of identity, national borders, and collective memory.

Ellen Brodsky, director.

Panel: The Southern Border

Guest panelists and Moderator TBD

Border South

Main Feature Film

Time: 84 min

USA/Mexico/Guatemala (Spanish/English) 2019; Feature Documentary Film

To stem the immigration tide, Mexico and the U.S. collaborate to crack down on migrants, forcing them into ever more dangerous territory. Filmmaker Raúl O. Paz Pastrana spent four years following migrants’ routes from southern Mexico to the US-Mexico border. Border South illustrates the resilience, ingenuity, and humor of immigrants as it exposes a global migration system that renders human beings invisible in life as well as death.

Raúl  O. Paz Pastrana, director, producer.

September 14, 2019

11:30 AM – 7:30 PM

Jack Morton Auditorium, The George Washington University,

Washington, D.C.

In partnership with the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute

Main Speaker TBA

Welcome Matinee Shorts: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Opening Speaker (TBA) and three award winning short films about morning in America followed by audience Talk Back & Workshops

Coffee and a Donut

Welcome Matinee Shorts

Time: 11:28 min

USA – New York (English) 2018; Short comedy; color                    

Pablo is a young immigrant, new to the US, and speaks no English. When he first comes into a diner, not knowing how to order, he mimics another customer. 

Cary Patrick Martin, writer, director.

Donut People

Welcome Matinee Shorts

Time: 11:45 min

USA – Texas (English) 2018; Short documentary; color

This short film tells the story of Cambodian immigrants in Texas, where Cambodians own an estimated 95% of donut shops.

 Keeley Steenson, director.

American Marriage

Welcome Matinee Shorts

Time: 14:45 min

USA – New York (English) 2018; Short comedy; color   

Leonardo, an Italian immigrant living in New York, marries a Latina woman, Nikki, to obtain a green card.

Giorgio Arcelli Fontana, director.

WORKSHOP:  Working with Undocumented Students 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

“Join Laura M. Bohorquez, Co-Founder of the Undocumented Immigrants & Allies Knowledge Community, as she leads a conversation to explore the various ways to work with and for undocumented/immigrant students and the communities that they/we are a part of during our current political climate. During this conversation, you will learn about some of the resources and opportunities that several institutions in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area are exploring and advocating for alongside students from various immigration statuses and experiences. Participants will leave with three things that they can do individually and or within their institution.”

Matinee Shorts 2:  Asylum at the Border 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Six new short films about asylum seekers and detention at the US Border

The Waitlist

Asylum at the Border Shorts

Time: 10:08 min

Mexico (English/Spanish) 2019; Short documentary/ Web / New Media; B/W 

Since 2016, the US has been turning away asylum seekers at its borders, limiting how many are allowed in each day. Thousands of refugees from around the world wait at the US-Mexico border for weeks or months before the US allows them into the US to request asylum.

Natasha Pizzey-Siegert and James Fredrick are multimedia journalists based in Mexico City.

Credible Fear

Asylum at the Border Shorts

Time: 20:45 min

USA, Guatemala/Mexico (English)  2019; Short documentary; color

West African asylum seekers are followed on their way to the US through Latin America. The film focuses on Sam Kwesi, a Ghanaian asylum seeker. Sam is now in detention in Louisiana, where he is awaiting trial before deportation.

Caron Creighton and Walker Dawson, co-directors, writers, producers.


Asylum at the Border Shorts

Time: 15:09 min

Canada – US Border (English) 2018; Short drama; Color

An American border patrol officer is forced to choose between duty and compassion when he apprehends two refugees fleeing the US into Canada.

Anaïsa Visser, director.

Exodus to Detention

Asylum at the Border Shorts

Time: 3:00 min

USA – Honduras/ Mexico  (Spanish) 2019; Short documentary/Experimental; color

This film humanizes the refugee journey of a Honduran youth fleeing Central America trying to legally enter the US through the asylum process from the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico. 

Gabriela Cartagena, director.

Lumpkin, GA

Asylum at the Border Shorts

Time: 24:10 min

USA – Georgia (English/Spanish) 2018; Short documentary; color

A fading southern town. A massive immigrant detention center down the road. A mosaic of life in the middle of America’s immigration crackdown.

Nicholas Manting Brewer, director.

Room 140

Asylum at the Border Shorts

Time: 11:11 min

USA – California (Spanish) 2017; Documentary Short; Color

Immigrants just released from detention centers spend their first night in Oakland at a motel, paid for by one of the workers. For one night of respite, they rest, reflect, and prepare for the next phase of their journey.

Priscilla González Sainz, director and producer.


Join WITNESS’ Palika Makam, US Senior Program Coordinator, for a workshop on how you can document ICE enforcement and abuses, and defend immigrant communities using just your cell phone camera. Participants will walk away with an understanding of the power of video as a tool for immigrant rights, examples of how video has been used to fight deportations, and practical guidance on how to film, share, and store footage safely ethically and effectively.

Matinee Shorts 3: We Are DACA – 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Six powerful short films featuring DREAMers across the country with Talk back & DACA workshop

The Other Border

We Are DACA Shorts

Time: 7:54 min

USA – Ohio (English) 2019; Short documentary ; Color

High school student Gerardo Hernandez – raised in the United States since six months of age – was one of over 100 undocumented workers arrested by ICE in Ohio on June 5th, 2018. Gerardo is now scheduled to be deported in early 2020.

Justin Zimmerman, director.

Foreign Nationals

We Are DACA Shorts

Time: 18:31 min

USA – New York  (English) 2018; Short drama/action; Award-winner

Tasked with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws, a divorced ICE Officer and father of two struggles with the new regulatory agenda of the Department of Homeland Security and the “Foreign Nationals” living in NYC .

Louis J. Guerra, director, lives and works in New York City.


We Are DACA Shorts

Time: 15:00 min

USA – New York  (English/Spanish) 2018; Short drama; color

Marisol centers around an undocumented Latina living in NYC. She is hardworking and focused, but as a single mother, she will do anything for the well-being of her daughter. Taking a risk to provide for her daughter, a stranger turns her transgression into a nightmare.

Zoe Salicrup Junco, director.

Immigration Stories

We Are DACA Shorts

Time: 12:37 min

USA – Michigan  (English) 2018; Short documentary ; color

Immigration Stories shares intimate portraits of individuals and families who have left their homes seeking a better life, including refugee children, living in the Detroit metropolitan area.

Kathi J Moore, director, producer.           


We Are DACA Shorts

Time: 28:35 min

USA – Oklahoma (English) 2018; Short documentary; color

This pro-bono project was truly a labor of love. I knew that if those people who believed these Dreamers did not deserve to be here could just meet them they would feel differently about whether they should be allowed to remain in this country. I teamed up with Dream Action Oklahoma, a project sponsored by United We Dream, to interview 17 Dreamers here in Oklahoma. 

Bill Hellams, director, writer, producer.

Better Together

We Are DACA Shorts

Time: 7:59 min

USA – Virginia (English) 2018; Short documentary; color

International refugees at a Virginia school discuss how to establish friendships with American students, because with these friendships, they are better together.

Mohammad Alsheika;  Junzhi Xie;  Matthew Burch,  Co-directors, students at Light House Studio.             

Matinee Shorts 4: Child & Family Separation – 4:30 PM – 6 PM

Six powerful and innovative short films about children and family separation

Turning The Tables

Child & Family Separation Shorts

Time: 9:24 min

USA – California (English) 2018; Short drama; color

An American family is forced to flee violence in their country, only to discover that the neighboring country in which they seek asylum is not as welcoming as promised.

Jay Rowan Tanner is a Writer, Director & Producer based in Los Angeles.


Six Degrees of Immigration

Child & Family Separation Shorts

Time: 11:05 min

Colombia/USA (English/Spanish) 2018; Hybrid documentary Short; color

A hybrid-documentary short film about a couple separated by US immigration policy whose love may or may not stand the test of time.

Jayme Gershen is a filmmaker and photographer based in Miami, FL.

My Land (Mi Tierra)

Child & Family Separation Shorts

Time: 11:06 min

USA (English/Spanish), 2019; Short drama; color

Under a new administration, the US creates an “Immigration Deportation Force” whose sole job is to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Miguel, a stubborn Salvadoran father of two, barricades his family inside their home in order to avoid deportation.

Sandra Camargo, director.

Pango Tales

Child & Family Separation Shorts

Time: 4:12 min

Colombia (silent) 2018; Short animation, Experimental ; color

Three pandas are embarking on a long journey. However, they cannot imagine what awaits them after an event that would change the course of their lives. A dramatic story that offers powerful teaching.

Adrian Xavier Guerrero Ortega, director and animator

Caracol Cruzando

Child & Family Separation Shorts

Time: 15:00 min

USA (English/Spanish) 2018; Short animation, Web / New Media;  color

A Costa Rican girl decides if she will bring her pet turtle across the US border in Miami.

Pamela Maria Chavez is a Costa Rican illustrator and animator

La Festa più bellissimo (The Beautiful Party)

Child & Family Separation Shorts

Time: 15:00 min

Italy (Italian)  2018; Short ; color

Amin is a second-generation immigrant kid, lively and friendly. Today is his birthday, and like every child he can’t wait to party with his classmates.           

 Hedy Krissane, director, writer.

Closing Evening Program: Crossing the Border – 6 PM – 7:30 PM

Seven award winning short films about crossing borders with Talk Back & Closing Program


Crossing the Border Shorts

Time: 2:20 min

USA – Florida (English) 2018;  Short ; color

Freedom addresses the empathy crisis toward immigrants by showing how the concept of living free with no borders applies to car commercials but not when it comes to human beings.

Yuri Sardenberg, Ana Monteiro: Yuri+Ana is a duo of two of the most respected fashion photographers in South America.

In Colors

Crossing the Border Shorts

Time: 16:12 min

USA – California (English/Spanish) 2019; Short drama; color

Lauris, a Latina immigrant adjusting to life in an Arizona border town, finds her values tested when Julieta, a young, undocumented immigrant on the run, seeks shelter on her property.

Stephanie Willis, writer and director

Crossing: 2036

Crossing the Border Shorts

Time: 4:47 min

USA Border (silent) 2019: Student Short/Action/SciFi; color

After a long journey through the desert, a young woman finds herself suddenly alone and within sight of the enemy.

Max Kleinman, director.

El Balsero

Crossing the Border Shorts

Time: 20:00 min

United States – Florida (Spanish/English) 2019; Short docudrama; color

After years of living under Fidel Castro’s government, Cuba has fallen into a state of darkness and oppression. After his childhood friend is violently killed in an altercation with a Castro sympathizer, 21-year-old Reinaldo realizes he must find a way out and regain his freedom at any cost.

Jose Navas was born in Nicaragua and raised in sunny Miami, Florida.  The Rafter (2019) is his latest film.


Crossing the Border Shorts

Time: 7:01 min

Canada (Spanish/English) 2018; Short animation; color

ABEO is a hard-hitting mixed media animated short that depicts the journey of Nadia and Lupe, two immigrants who risked their lives to cross the Arizona desert in search of a better life.

Brenda Lopez is a Mexican-Canadian multidisciplinary artist based in Montreal.

Sin Verguenza (Without Shame)

Crossing the Border Shorts

Time: 13:12 min

USA – Arizona (Spanish, English) 2018; Short drama; color

Two men, unknown to one another, cross paths somewhere in the hot Arizona desert.
One man is an illegal immigrant making his way back to his family in Tucson and the other is a wounded Mexican drug runner, hoping to get back to Mexico safely.

David E. Valdez , writer, director & producer

School Crossing

Crossing the Border Shorts

Time: 16:30 min

USA , Venezuela (Spanish/English) 2019; Short documentary; color

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is considered among the worst in Latin American history. While much of the media coverage has focused on the political turmoil in Venezuela, “School Crossing” focuses on an unseen crisis: the education of the next generation of Venezuelan children.

Karla Caraballo-Torres, Lorin Eleni Gill, Co-directors, producers.

Friday, October 18, 2019  

Mediterranean Migration 

12 NOON – 2 PM

Seven award winning international short films about migrants and refugees, some who risk their lives  in the Mediterranean Sea. Presented as part of the 2019 Films Across Borders: Stories of Water international cinema series.  Limited seating. Register for ticket to attend

Lindner Family Commons, The George Washington University Elliott School

1957 E Street, Washington, DC  20052

Co-sponsored by the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES)


Mediterranean Migration Program

Time: 1 min

Turkey (silent); 2018; a mobile phone Short

A choking man is suddenly saved by a homeless refugee, formerly a doctor in his native country.

Mehmet Can MICIK is a Turkish director living in Istanbul.

Where is Europe?

Mediterranean Migration Program

Time: 15 min

Italy (English, Italian), 2018, Short documentary

Where is Europe? is a docu-film exploring the role of NGOs in the Mediterranean Sea through the eyes of its crew members. The project is filmed on board the migrant rescue ship Aquarius, coordinated by the Italian-French-German NGO SOS MEDITERRANEE.

Valentina Signorelli is an Italiam screenwriter, filmmaker living in London, Rome & Milan.


Mediterranean Migration Program

Time: 15 min

Italy (Persian), 2019, Short drama

When they are forced to separate, 10-year-old Ali and his 18-year-old brother Mohammed have already been travelling for a long time. Three years earlier, a bomb destroyed their home in Kabul and killed their parents.

Beppe Tufarulo is an Italian film director.

I am Here

Mediterranean Migration Program

Time: 30 min

Italy (French/Italian), 2017, Short documentary

Io Sono Qui (I am Here) is the voice of all the minors who manage to arrive alone in Italy and want to start living again, to hope, and to believe in their own future. It’s the story of Dine, Magassouba and Omar, three young migrants who for different reasons have been forced to leave their countries of origin in search of a safe place to live.

Gabriele Gravagna, director, lives in Rome.


Mediterranean Migration Program

Time: 12 min

Italy (French/Italian) Short, 12 min

Nooh is a Central African child who arrived clandestinely in Italy. Orphaned, he finds himself in a reception center. Chaos and fear drive him to run away with his imaginary superhero to the sea.

Edoardo Bramucci graduated at the Roma Film Academy 2018. This is his debut film.


Mediterranean Migration Program

Time: 8 min

Sweden (Persian), 2017, Short, Experimental

“Hey humans,

Who are sitting on the shore, joyous and laughing,

Someone is losing his life in the water.”

This highly acclaimed and awarded short film is based on a poem by Persian Poet “Nima Yushij” and reflects on refugees who have lost their lives during the attempt crossing the Mediterranean Sea in the hopes of surviving the war and finding a better life in Europe.

Alex Afshar is an independent movie director, living in Gothenburg, Sweden.


Mediterranean Migration Program

Time: 14 min

Italy (Italian), 2018, Short drama

Yousef is a successful cook, the son of immigrants, who grew up in Italy. After a long wait he manages to obtain Italian citizenship, a few days after the attacks at Macerata. Yousef’s certainties start to falter. When you find yourself faced with a choice that until recently would have been obvious, you will not know what to do.

Mohamed Hossameldin is an Italian-Egyptian director, born in Egypt, he lives in Italy.

Sunday, October 20, 2019  

Acting on Our Principles  

12:30 PM – 3 PM

Three award winning films about people and congregations taking action to aid immigrants and refugees. Light refreshments and audience discussion. Limited seating. Register for ticket to attend.

River Road Unitarian Universalist – The Fireside Room

6301 River Road, Bethesda, MD 20817

Co-sponsored by River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation


Acting on Our Principles Program

Time: 10:00 min

USA -Utah (English), 2018, Short documentary

This film highlights reflections from a Unitarian-Universalist congregation in the US providing physical sanctuary for a woman and her child escaping deportation. Vicky Chavez fled domestic abuse and violence in her native Honduras to seek asylum in the US. Nearly 4 years later, with her appeals exhausted and facing deportation, she asked a community of faith in Salt Lake City for sanctuary. Sheltered inside the church, she finds herself part of an ancient conflict.

Kelsie Moore, director; produced by KUER,NPR-Utah in Salt Lake City.

Health Undocumented (Salud Sin Papeles)

Acting on Our Principles Program

Time: 85:00 min

USA – Arizona (English), 2018, Feature Documentary

Sparked by backlash to a neo-Nazi rally and a stream of strict anti-immigrant laws passed in Arizona, a group of activists organize to build Phoenix Allies for Community Health, a unique free clinic serving undocumented immigrants. Health Undocumented captures the inspirational birth of a local grassroots movement.

Juan Freitez is a Venezuelan filmmaker and video journalist debuting his first feature-length documentary.

Speaker/Audience discussion

Strangers Ourselves

Acting on Our Principles Program

Time: 18:00 min

Canada (English), 2018, Short Documentary

Best Doc Audience Award- Chicago Feminist Film Festival

Eighty-six-year-old Elizabeth Rapley has sponsored ninety-two refugees since 1979, helping them resettle in Canada. At a time of in the global refugee crisis, this short documentary explores the everyday facets of extraordinary acts of offering and seeking refuge.

Lora Murray is a filmmaker and PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at New York University.