Film Screening draws a crowd

Luis Carlos With camera.

The film screening of the new documentary, 389 Miles – Living the Border, was a great success. Thanks to all our Friends for coming and Luis Carlos Davis for bringing his film to our library.

Below is an article written about the evening by JB Miller, Staff Reporter for the Bulletin, published June 30, 2010…

Nogales native Luis Carlos Romero-Davis says he wanted to share with the world what he had seen while growing up along the U.S.-Mexico border.

And so he decided to make a film

“I got my camera, cashed out my savings, got in my car and started my journey to discover the many people who have become a part of this world,” Romero-Davis says during the introduction to “389 Miles – Living the Border,” an one-hour film that he directed and produced.

The film, which was screened at the Patagonia Public Library on June 25, strives to give a balanced view from various perspectives, he said.

Romero-Davis spent over four years interviewing people ranging from Border Patrol agents and Minuteman volunteers to undocumented migrants and human smugglers.

“Everyone is doing what they think is right, but those ideas clash,” said Romero-Davis following the screening. “It’s not black and white. It’s more complicated.”

Perhaps one of the most intense moments of the film comes when Romero-Davis interviews a “coyote,” or human smuggler, who donned a Mexican wrestling mask in order to conceal his identity. During the interview, conducted in a house less than a mile from the fence separating Arizona and Sonora, the man said he made between $200,000 and $500,000 a year.

“Now that I think about it, I don’t know if I would do it again because I did take a lot of risks,” said Romero-Davis, in reference to the human smuggler scene as well others, including a clip in which he rousts a group of bandits waiting behind a tree to rob and accost migrants as they cross the border.

Asked by an audience member if the border fence will slow migration Romero-Davis said, “You can’t stop them. There’s no way. There was a woman who knew she could be raped but her necessity was stronger than that. They have families to feed.”

The film’s title refers to the distance Romero-Davis traveled along the Arizona-Sonora border while making the film. He began in Douglas, where a Border Patrol agent apprehends a pair of undocumented immigrants, and continues west, through border towns and off-the-beaten-track locations including a migrant camp in a remote desert area.

Romero-Davis recently won his first award at a film festival in Puerto Vallarta, and he is tentatively scheduled to take the film to Argentina and possibly Spain.

Among other places, “389 Miles – Living the Border” has been shown at the Library of Congress, the San Francisco LATINO Film Festival and the Guadalajara Film Festival in Mexico. It has never been shown in Ambos Nogales, however. Romero-Davis said the film was part of a traveling film festival that visited five locations in Sonora, but that it was “blocked, in a way,” from being shown in Nogales, Sonora. He did not elaborate.

Patagonia is the closest to Nogales that he has been able to screen the film, he said.

The Friends of the Patagonia Library sponsored the June 25 event. Another screening there is planned for sometime in September.

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Although JB says that a second screening is planned for September, we think it will more likely take place sometime after our October Patagonia Fall Festival. We’ll be sure and post the date on this website and put posters up around town.

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