The Chihuahuan Desert Conference is very fortunate to present The River and the Wall award winning documentary at the Icebreaker in the El Paso Zoo Wildlife Amphitheater at 7 pm on November 6. The film’s Producer, Hillary Pierce, is flying in from Austin to introduce the film and to host a Q & A session at the end.
The documentary follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes.
Conservation filmmaker Ben Masters realizes the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas as the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead. Masters recruits NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado, and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on the two-and-a-half-month journey down 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
They set out to document the borderlands and explore the potential impacts of a wall on the natural environment, but as the wilderness gives way to the more populated and heavily trafficked Lower Rio Grande Valley, they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters.
Hillary Pierce is an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer based in Austin, Texas. She is a part of the producing team behind Keith Maitland’s dual 2016 documentaries TOWER and A SONG FOR YOU: THE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS STORY. Hillary began her documentary career at Maysles Films under the tutelage of Direct Cinema pioneer Albert Maysles and earned an MFA in Documentary Film at Wake Forest University. Her film THE ONE WHO BUILDS tells the story of the Muslim director of a refugee resettlement agency in the American South. TOWER won the Grand Jury Documentary Prize and Audience Award at SXSW in 2016, broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens in February 2017, was shortlisted for an Academy Award and won the 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Historical Documentary.