UTEP to Screen ‘Witness at Tornillo’ Documentary
Last Updated on November 12, 2019 at 12:00 AM
Originally published November 12, 2019
By UC Staff
The story of the native New Yorker who traveled to El Paso to protest the government-sponsored incarceration of migrant teenagers will be told in “Witness at Tornillo,” a documentary that will be shown at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the Blumberg Auditorium on the first floor of the University Library.
The film by Carbon Trace Productions chronicles the three months that Joshua Rubin, a 68-year-old software developer from Brooklyn, spent outside an encampment erected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to house more than 6,000 teenagers from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and other Central and South American countries for seven months starting in June 2018. The government built the tent city in Tornillo, a town nearly 30 miles southeast of El Paso. Rubin will participate in a question-and-answer session after the screening.
The New Yorker left El Paso in January 2019 and headed to Homestead, Florida, where the government opened a similar migrant detention center that closed in November 2019. He now is on tour with the documentary, which debuted Oct. 23, 2019, in New York City.
Yolanda Leyva, Ph.D., associate professor of history and director of UTEP’s Institute of Oral History, said she expected a good crowd to attend the screening.
“This is an important documentary that shows what was happening in our own backyard,” Leyva said.
The UTEP professor thanked Carbon Trace Productions, which allowed her to show the movie at UTEP as well as future screenings at Bowie High School later this month and at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Alamo Drafthouse, 250 E. Montecillo. Tickets are available for the Alamo show at www.tugg.com.
Prior to the screening, Rubin will visit the exhibit “Uncaged Art: Tornillo Children’s Detention Camp,” at 4 p.m. in UTEP’s Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens. Leyva said Rubin will share a few remarks at the exhibit, which has garnered international attention since it opened April 13, 2019.