The Border Crossed Us

The human cost of US immigration policy reaches far beyond physical borders

The Border Crossed Us While a big white surveillance blimp constantly hovers over the small border town of La Joya, Texas, local police officers patrol the neighborhood looking for human smugglers. The region is littered with traces of people who have attempted to get into the US by crossing the Rio Grande. But rather than arresting the immigrants, the officers are gathering intelligence on the smugglers and smuggling bosses tied to Mexican cartels. Slowly the mutual dependence between police and smuggler reveals a system caught in a never-ending cycle, with the immigrant dangerously caught in between.

The Border Crossed Us (2023) on IMDb

Festivals and Awards

LaurelIDFA Best Dutch Film | Official Selection
LaurelIDFA Frontlight | Official Selection

The Producers

Loretta Van Der Horst – Director

Loretta is Honduran born, Dutch – American filmmaker with Puerto Rican roots holding an M.A in Documentary Journalism from New York University and an M.A in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from Utrecht University. She has reported extensively on Gang Violence, Human Trafficking and the Drug War in Latin America for international broadcasters such as Discovery Channel and Channel 4. She was nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy twice, first with ‘Sound of Vision’ an experimental short film she co-directed for PBS in 2012 and again in 2013 for a 50 minutes documentary she produced for Discovery Channel about Mexico’s disappeared. THE BORDER CROSSED US is her second feature documentary.

Nienke Korthof, Willem Baptist – Producers

Tangerine Tree is an independent production company based in Rotterdam – The Netherlands. Founded in 2014 by producer Nienke Korthof and producer/director Willem Baptist. Tangerine Tree produces author driven documentaries for television and cinema. Tangerine Tree productions have won many awards and have been screened globally on the festival circuit such as: Berlinale, IDFA, IFFR, AFI Docs, CPH: DOX, Hot Docs, Thessaloniki and DOC NYC.

Making The Film

Director's Statement

During the final editing stages of my feature documentary debut film Behind the Blood (released at IDFA in 2019) which examines good and evil as people try to survive complex violence in my birth country Honduras, I felt I wasn’t done yet. While I had been filming, many Hondurans fled the country, hoping to find safety in the USA. And when I read about the role that American Sheriffs, and police Chiefs played in determining how their agencies would implement national policies regarding immigration, I was curious to what extent there would be any tensions between the law and the experiences of individual officers. I really wanted to get in the mind of the officers that are having to stop people from being able to find a safe haven. What does it really mean on both an individual and an institutional level to enforce the US-Mexico border at all costs? And more universally; what does that say about guarding borders elsewhere in the world?

Translating my continued urge to examine the relationship between people’s free will, and the bigger system they are a part of, this film is both a personal exploration of the reality on the border as well as a character study of those having to implement the laws of the land.

– Loretta van der Horst, Director

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