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James Cooper’s Latest Documentary to Premiere at San Diego Latino Film Festival

Poster for the documentary Border Industrial Complex: Stories from the United States-Mexico Border

The 1,954 mile-long United States-Mexico border is the most frequently crossed border in the world, with millions of documented crossings annually.

This astounding fact sets the scene for a new documentary short co-directed and produced by California Western Associate Dean for Experiential Learning James Cooper and Chilean Filmmaker and Cinematographer Sebastián Vives del Solar.

The documentary, Border Industrial Complex: Stories from the United States-Mexico Border, was selected to debut on the opening night of the 28th San Diego Latino Film Festival (March 11–21, 2021) and will receive its world premiere Thursday, March 11, 7:00 p.m. PT at the South Bay Drive-In. Subsequent screenings will be done online.

The documentary explores the bleak landscape of profit corporations and not-for-profit organizations working transnationally across the border. Building on the privatization in other industries like education, healthcare, waste management, and other public utilities, non-state actors are increasingly assuming the roles that had previously rested with state agencies and public institutions. The film lays bare the roles that these private actors—from the immigrants themselves to the multinational corporations that incarcerate them after they have crossed La Frontera—play along the United States-Mexico border.

“This documentary has been a long time in the making. It explores the hollowing out of the state as private actors wrest away a greater role in the regulation of cross-border transactions and inherently sovereign functions,” said Associate Dean Cooper.

Cooper and Vives del Solar have collaborated on more than 20 films in the 19 years that they have worked together, four of which have been debuted at the San Diego Latino Film Festival.

The film features California Western Professor William Aceves, esteemed alumna and California Western Adjunct Professor Lilia Velasquez, and the Mexican Consul General in San Diego, Ambassador Carlos González Gutiérrez, among others.

In its 28th year, the San Diego Latino Film Festival will feature virtual and drive-in film screenings, Q&As with filmmakers and special guests, a Sonido Latino concert, and a virtual awards ceremony. To view the complete schedule and to purchase tickets, click here.

To view the Border Industrial Complex: Stories from the United States-Mexico Border trailer, click here.