THE CAGE (2019)
As a humanitarian aid worker in South Texas I decided to make this film to uncover the realities of the crisis of migrant death in Brooks County through the words of a rancher who has seen it all.
Each year, tens of thousands of people leave their countries and make the journey to the United States. “Prevention through Deterrence”, a US border enforcement policy from the 1990s, forces people to cross the most remote and dangerous areas of the US- Mexico border. Under this policy, the United States has increased border militarization, created new physical barriers, and increased restrictions at traditional ports of entry which has pushed travel into the most isolated areas of the Southwest. In the deserts, thousands of people die or disappear every year.
This film takes place in Brooks County, Texas, 70 miles North of Mexico. A Border Patrol checkpoint placed on Highway 281 pushes migrants to cross through the rugged and privately owned ranch-lands. In order to circumvent the checkpoint, people must walk up to 60 miles through dense brush with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. Each year, hundreds of people perish in the ranches due to dehydration and exposure to the elements. In this film Thomas S. shares his experience as a Rancher in Brooks County for over 30 years.
I would like to acknowledge that the ranch-lands of South Texas are on the stolen and occupied land of the Tāp Pīlam Coahuiltecan Nation, and that they existed here long before the imposed border divided their territory.
The South Texas Human Rights Center is a non-profit organization in Falfurrias, Texas dedicated to the promotion, protection, defense, and exercise of human rights and dignity in South Texas. Their mission is to end death and suffering on the border. Right now the STHRC maintains 150 water stations in the ranch lands, which are carefully placed to best help people who are at risk of dehydration. The STHRC also operates a missing migrant hotline to strengthen the capacity of families to locate their missing loved ones.
Independent Shorts Awards- Platinum Award for Best Documentary Short- April 2019
Florence Film Awards- Honorable Mention for Short Documentary- June 2019
MINT Film Festival-Official Selection 2019
Oaxaca FilmFest- Official Selection 2019
Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase- Official Selection 2019