A new documentary by filmmaker Ben Masters studies the wild diversity and landscape of the Rio Grande on the US-Mexico border amid pressures to build a border wall.
In "The River and The Wall," released on Friday, five people, including Masters, travel the Rio Grande from El Paso to Brownsville, Texas, for 60 days.
They travel on foot, mountain biking, canoeing and horseback to record natural physical barriers along the 1,931-kilometer border. They film the wildlife and talk to the inhabitants, who consider the region to be one and oppose plans to erect a wall in isolated rural areas.
Masters said that the idea came to him in the midst of the discomfort caused by the way the border region was portrayed in the press and the immigration debate.
"A lot of the things that have happened in my life happened near the border," Masters said. "I wanted to go see her personally before a wall potentially changes her forever."
What would change
Ecosystems of several centuries, the migration of wildlife, economic and human relations built for decades: all that is at stake, said Masters. A wall would also affect the border regions of New Mexico, Arizona and California with their fragile ecosystems.
Hillary Pierce, the producer, said that few think about how a wall could alter life on the border and that a trip to the unexplored region would give a new dimension to the debate. The spectators will see how the existing walls, some of them 1,500 meters from the border, have harmed farmers and ranchers.
"This is a virtual tour of the border," Pierce said. "People will have the opportunity to see it with their own eyes."