“The River And The Wall,” a Timely Documentary

“The River and The Wall” takes viewers on an unforgettable journey into the one of the most controversial topics in the world today: the hotly debated US-Mexico border wall. 

Published May 30, 2019

The new documentary, “The River and The Wall”, had its world premiere at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival and has proven to be an audience favorite at other film festivals around the country.

From left to right: Austin Alvarado, Ben Masters, Filipe Deandrade, Heather Mackey and Jay Kleberg spent two years riding bikes, horses and canoes meeting with and filming dozens of people on both sides of the Rio Grande in order to show what the borderlands look like, how a wall would work, and how it would impact immigration, landowners, water access, wildlife and border culture. Photo courtesy The 2050 Group

The film is an immersive adventure through the little known wilds of the Texas borderlands. It follows Ben Masters, an award-winning director, Emmy-winning producer Hillary Pierce, Austin Alvarado, Rio Grande river guide, Heather Mackey, an ornithologist and field researcher, Filipe Deandrade, host for NatGeo Wild’s “Untamed” web series, and Jay Kleberg, Associate Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, on a 1,200 mile journey along the US-Mexico border from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico.

Alternating between riding horses, bicycles and paddling canoes, the group travels along the Rio Grande meeting with landowners, border patrol agents, Republican and Democratic Congressional Representatives, immigrants, wildlife biologists and folks on either side of the Rio Grande in an effort to gain a better understanding of where a physical border wall would go and its implications for the natural environment. 

“At a time when there’s so much division, ignorance, and false reporting about the border, I’m excited to release the film and allow the incredible landscapes and people there to speak for themselves,” says “The River and the Wall” documentary-maker Ben Masters. Photo courtesy The 2050 Group

Told through stunning cinematography of lands and cultures rarely visited but often debated, the group comes face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate as they venture into uncharted emotional waters. The immigrant stories of two members of the group are interwoven throughout the journey, humanizing the controversial immigration topic as the filmmakers travel through a landscape that could crumble to a wall that is built to keep them out.

Brendan M. Gallagher, Executive Vice President & General Counsel of the film’s distribution company, Gravitas Ventures, says, “The film is visually stunning and provides much-needed human, practical and environment perspectives on the divisive border wall issue that has shut down our government and polarized the country.”

“The River and The Wall” features former Democratic Congressman and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke as well as sitting Republican Congressman Will Hurd.  The pair are seen visiting the wall and debating its impact, coming together in bi-partisan consensus on the negative impacts the behemoth would have on their constituencies. 

“The River and The Wall” is being shown across the country. Check here for the screening nearest to you.

In Austin, “The River and the Wall” is being screened June 12 at 8:30pm at the Contemporary Austin as part of their “Liberty and Justice For All” film series. 


Cover photo courtesy The 2050 Group

Austinite Lisa Davis is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and honors graduate from Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.

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