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Factual

The Wall – A Borderland Drama

Synopsis

This film explores the catastrophic impact on wildlife and the environment of the proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. It is told from the perspective of biologists, ranchers, photographers, journalists, park rangers and conservationists who live in this area and who understand life in these borderlands better than most.

Building a huge concrete wall along the entire 2,000 mile US-Mexico border was a key policy in Trump’s campaign for the White House and made headlines around the world. And on January 25th, 2017 Trump signed executive order 13767, authorising a project that might cost $25 billion and that might, in the end, prove impossible.

But this is only the latest part of an on-going story. Over 800 miles of barriers have already been built, a legacy of the 9/11 attacks in New York. And another legacy of that atrocity was legislation allowing Homeland Security to ignore any and all laws relating to the environment and human rights in pursuit of border security. The existing barriers already have huge effects on the environment and wildlife – Trump’s wall would be disastrous.

Leading our journey along both sides of the border, photographer Krista Schyler, has documented the wildlife and landscapes of the borderlands and the tragic impacts of the existing fence on wildlife and people.

We take a 2,000 mile journey along the proposed border, from east to west, across some of the most beautiful and fragile landscapes in America. We’ll go in search of rare and iconic creatures, like jaguars, ocelots, sea turtles, jaguarundis, bison and black bears that are already facing – or will soon face – problems at the border. Much of this conservation work depends on co-operation across the border and this spirit of a shared future has already seen jaguars and ocelots re-colonise the USA from Mexico. Mexican grey wolves bred in captivity in the US along with bison from South Dakota have been re-introduced to their former range in Mexico.

The wall would cross the dramatic scenery of Big Bend National Park on the Rio Grande in Texas and the wild landscapes of Arizona’s ‘Sky Islands’, remote mountains with a unique flora and fauna. To build a wall in these areas requires a huge infrastructure, destroying vast tracts of land. The wall may, in the end, be an impossible dream, but trying to achieve it could be the biggest environmental disaster in the US for over a century.