Breaking Down Walls
Filmmaker Martin Bureau and producer Catherine Benoit have been working on a web documentary project about walls of separation across the world for more than four years. The purpose of their project is to synthesize common issues among the now 74 walls of separation in the world, currently built or under construction.
In November 2017, the team met Dr. Eva Moya, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Work, at a presentation she gave at a conference at Université du Québec à Montréal. Dr. Moya extended an invitation to visit El Paso to learn more about life and politics here on the largest U.S.-Mexico border. The team’s set locations, which previously included Palestine, Israel and Northern Ireland, was expanded to include the sister cities of El Paso/Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Bureau’s and Benoit’s opinion of the border area had been largely formed through exposure to media and literature that focused on past violence, and although they understood that the situation was more complex than could be explained, they still had concerns about their safety and stories of an oppressive military presence. To their delight, the team discovered wonderful, connected communities very unlike what had been portrayed in the media. They now describe the wall here as “a big mascarade, a political theater, a simulacra based on fear, destined to fix a political agenda motivated by lies.”
With the assistance of Dr. Moya and Miriam S. Monroy, a December 2017 MPH graduate, the team discovered wonderful people involved in their communities, who were motivated to keep friendship alive beyond borders and walls. The team intends to embed this important message about the El Paso/Juarez border community in their web documentary project.