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Film at the Fence brings cinema to the border

Pantelion Films/Participant Media
The Loft will screen “César Chávez” at the United States/Mexico border in both Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Ariz. Thursday, Oct. 19.

Cinema has power. 

Cinema brings communities together, inspires emotions and reshapes the way people see the world. Film transcends physical borders despite any obstacles, and that’s precisely what the “Film at the Fence” screening aims to do this Thursday, Oct. 19.

On the border fence in Nogales, Ariz. and Nogales, Sonora, the award-winning biopic “Cesar Chávez” will be projected at 8 p.m. The free screening is a part of the Borderland Film Festival 2017 and is presented in partnership with The Loft Cinema. The film will be screening on both sides of the international border fence simultaneously just on West Street and West International Street, Nogales, Arizona, about 1000 feet west of the U.S. Border checkpoint, according to The Loft’s website.

A poignant story about its namesake civil rights leader, “Cesar Chávez” chronicles the life of the man who fought for the rights of farm workers and the non-violent movement he inspired that changed the lives of many and inspired others to challenge prejudice and greed. 

RELATED:  Documentary on civil rights icon comes to The Loft

“We were looking for a film that was about somebody who has made a lot of strides for equal rights and for social justice,” said Jeff Yanc, the program director at the Loft Cinema. “We thought it would be appropriate to show that particular kind of film on the border and we wanted to find a film that had some big names in it … that people were maybe familiar with.”

The film stars Michael Peña, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich and is directed by Diego Luna. Since premiering in 2014, the film has been awarded the ALMA Award for Special Achievement in Film and the Narrative Spotlight award at the SXSW Film Festival among others.

The story is particularly topical in this current political climate where border politics are such a prevalent issue in our country as a whole and in the Ambos Nogales area where the screening will take place.

“I think celebrating Cesar Chavez is always a good idea whenever you can do it,” Yanc said.

This will be the second time a cross-border film screening has been a part of the Borderland fest. Last year the event was an addition to the festival program and this year, through partnering with the Loft Cinema, it is looking to be met with even more success. Formerly known as the Santa Cruz County International Film Festival, the Borderland fest is held every October in Santa Cruz County and Ambos Nogales. 

Driven by dedicated volunteers and film-lovers, Borderland Film Festival endeavors to celebrate the beauty of the scenery, the culture and the history of the Ambos Nogales and Santa Cruz area. According to Borderland’s website, there have been more than 130 movies and television shows filmed in this area.

The Loft will screen "César Chávez" at the United States/Mexico border in both Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Ariz. on Oct. 19. 
The Loft will screen “César Chávez” at the United States/Mexico border in both Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Ariz. on Oct. 19. 

Linda Rushton is the founder of Borderland and has been with the festival for all seven editions since 2011.

“We want to promote cross-border activities and this is an excellent way to do that,” Rushton said. “I don’t think we could’ve chosen a better movie since it is both languages and it’s going to be on both sides of the border.”

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to the screening to secure a spot and bring their own chairs because the festival is not able to provide seating. 

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The film will be projected on the Arizona side by the Loft’s Solar Cinema, a cargo van that has been modified to run the whole mobile projection set up by the Technicians of Sustainability. The Solar Cinema has been traveling around Southern Arizona in an effort to bring film to underserved areas and inspire a sense of community through these outdoor screenings. 

On Friday, the Solar Cinema will be off to Douglas to show the classic slapstick comedy film “¡Three Amigos!” while Borderland Film Festival will continue their programming lineup with a selection of films showcasing the Ambos Nogales and Santa Cruz areas.

“There’s obviously a lot of political and social and cultural significance to that actual place where we’re screening it,” Yanc said. “We’re really excited to do this. It’s a unique thing and a big event for us, and we’re really excited to be a part of it and happy to partner with Borderland.”

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