“We are a nation of immigrants, but also of laws,” repeats another American president in Ben Masters’ film, as the people chant “build the wall.” But the debut director is not interested in repeating political slogans. Together with four friends, he embarks on an exhausting journey from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico to try to understand where exactly the promised wall would be erected—and what would its consequences would be, including for the environment and local fauna. Talking with ordinary people, and also with presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s rhetoric, Masters shows the beauty of a place that is often mentioned in the news but about which little is really known. Sharing their own memories, the determined travelers traverse the “wide open spaces” that the Dixie Chicks once sang about. Traveling by bike, horse, and kayak, they are unable to keep their emotions in check at the sight of what they encounter along the way.
SXSW Film Festival 2019 – Louis Black/Lone Star Award for Best Texan Film
Ben Masters is a filmmaker, writer, and photographer who has worked with, among others, National Geographic and Western Horseman. He lives in Austin, Texas. He was one of the producers of the documentary Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story. In 2019, he directed The River and the Wall, an award winner at the SXSW Festival, in which he takes a close look at the place where Donald Trump’s promised wall is supposed to be erected. His next project is the short Return of the Desert Bighorn.
2019 Rzeka i mur / The River and the Wall (doc.)
2019 Return of the Desert Bighorn (short)