Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Indivisible: Love Knows No Borders

One of the reasons I started Reel Inspiration was to reach an audience for diverse films that create understanding by showing that we are more alike than different. There was one time in particular that I managed to accomplish just that.

It was 2010 and border issues were really heating up here in Tucson, Arizona. Hundreds of people were dying in our desert, trying to reach America for jobs to feed their children. The ones who made it lived in constant fear of being deported. Parents were dragged off in front of wailing children, not even given a chance to pack a bag or say, “Goodbye.” It wasn’t that long ago that not having papers was considered a misdemeanor, the equivalent of running a traffic light. But politicians used “illegals” as scapegoats, accusing them of causing the recession by taking American jobs. To bolster ratings, the corporate owned media exploited people’s fears by bombarding us with images of crimes conducted by Mexicans. They created the illusion that all undocumented Latinos were violent drug smugglers and home invaders.

In May of that year, local indie filmmaker LuisCarlos Davis invited me to a screening of his short doc, “389 Miles: Living the Border.”  When I arrived at the theater, it was standing room only. But LuisCarlos pulled out a chair for me. The audience watched transfixed as LuisCarlos documented the problems along the border with his camera. Seeing what was really happening was somehow empowering. People asked where they could get copies. He explained how the producers were in the process of getting distribution, so he could only screen his doc in person. I requested the mic. I told him flat out to forget distribution – that this film was too important. With so much miscommunication in the media, it was imperative that as many people as possible see his doc. Incredibly, LuisCarlos agreed. I put out a call to the Reel Inspiration community and my facebook friends asking them to set up public screenings at their clubs, organizations, churches, anywhere. LuisCarlos became an outspoken advocate for the undocumented, travelling the globe to speak on border issues.

(See the entire movie, "389 Miles: Living the Border" for free.)

This story was brought to mind by a recent screening of “Indivisible: Love Knows No Borders” presented by the Arizona International Film Festival.

Road trip! We ride along with a group of college students headed to Arizona. They are in turns excited and contemplative. They hadn’t seen their mothers since their mothers were deported. For one young woman, it had been six years! It’s not hard to get caught up in their whirlwind of emotions. And that’s exactly the point. Social Justice Activist Hilary Linder got fed up with the way that the corporate media was presenting undocumented teens (Dreamers) as statistics, so she set out to humanize their journey. In the doc “Indivisible” she shares three Dreamers stories of growing up in America and their efforts to be reunited with their families through activism.

I was astonished by the bravery of these students navigating their teen years (in a country that has become increasingly hostile towards undocumented immigrants) without the protection of their parents. One of the girls returned to the parking lot where her mother was pulled over by a policeman. She recalled how she watched in shock as her mom was dragged away in handcuffs like a criminal for not having a license. Despite growing up in the United States, these teens lived in constant fear of being deported themselves. They were raised to be quiet and invisible. But instead of staying hidden in their room, they decide to fight for a path to citizenship and a chance to be reunited with their families. They are making a lot of noise as activists, raising their voices in protest. They are drawing attention to their cause by organizing and attending protest marches, making speeches in the media, and even confronting congressmen. Remember when Obama announced the Dream Act? That was the direct result of their courageous actions.

After watching their profound stories, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the sobbing teens hugged and kissed their sobbing moms through the metal border fence.

Unfortunately, a wall still separates the Dreamers and their families. Our politicians have stonewalled the Dream Act, using it as a hot button election issue. It is up to the American people to pressure their representatives to get the act passed. During the Q & A, Hilary mentioned that she will be presenting the doc at film festival and community screenings before seeking distribution. She started her Tucson trip with a screening/discussion at Pueblo High School.

“Indivisible: Love Knows No Borders” is a great example of how powerful films can be – how a film can change people’s perceptions, open their hearts, and inspire action. I’m delighted to continue a Reel Inspiration tradition by putting a call out to our community. Please, support these brave Dreamers by hosting a screening of “Indivisible” at your church, club, organization, or anywhere with a movie or TV screen.

Find out how to arrange for a screening at:

I'm delighted to announce that "Indivisible" won a Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at the Arizona International Film Festival!


Movie blessings! 

Jana Segal-Stormont

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