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Film about illegal immigration highlights Southern Arizona - Channel 4 News

By Lorraine Rivera

A strong dose of the world's many cultures and issues right here in Tucson brings dozens of filmmakers to the Arizona International Film Festival.

Featured at the festival Saturday night a film that hits close to home here along the U.S./Mexico border.

El Inmigrante is a documentary film that examines the Mexican and American border crisis by telling the story of an illegal immigrant who was shot and killed during his journey north.

John Sheedy, one of the film's three directors, says the film got its start here in Tucson in 2003.

Sheedy says for the film's crew the story depicts the many aspects of illegal immigration.

"I think the bottom line is that we're all immigrants, they crossed a river to come up from Mexico and we crossed an ocean to come here from Europe," Sheedy says.

The film includes commentary from Border Patrol agents in Texas, one who said, "They didn't come in through the port of entry, they're obviously trying to go around the system."

Chris Simcox, the founder of the Minuteman organization appears in the film. He is quoted as saying, "We're stopping it on one trail for a couple of hours, for a couple of times a week and documenting that our government certainly is not doing their job. Are we really stopping it? No."

Also featured in the 90-minute film is Roger Barnett, a rancher in Cochise County. In one segment of the film, he said, "The white race is going to be gone. It's going to be a mixture of race. You got to stop and think."

El Inmigrante, spoken in English and in Spanish took three years to complete, according to Sheedy.

The purpose of the film was to bring attention to the tragedy that oftentimes results from illegal immigration.

Sheedy says, "When I saw that in the last ten years there's been over a thousand who had died to risk their lives trying to come into this country, although it may be illegal for them to come in, I think that human life should come first."