Luis Alonso Pérez
When Steev Hise, a video-grapher, activist, and artist joined the International Caravan for Justice to Ciudad Juarez in the fall of 2004, he planed to shoot a short video about the delegation, but when he got there and learned first hand about the brutal rapes and assassinations poor working-class women are exposed to, he realized that there was something he had to do about it.
That was the beginning of Steev’s most ambitious video project and it resulted in the feature documentary “On the Edge”, a new film about the current situation in Juarez that tries to explore the root of a problem far more complex than most people seem to realize.
Now the San Diego and Tijuana communities will have the chance to see Hise’s work in a special screening tour on July 26 and 27, at Bard Hall and Casa de la Cultura Altamira.
“Rather than provide an easy, murder-mystery style solution to the crimes, “On the Edge” sets out to explain the social, cultural, and economic factors that have created this situation where the killings can continue, and continue to go unpunished” states the filmmaker.
Hise believes that one of the main factors involved in this situation is Juarez’s geographical location, in the middle of the country and bordering the US, making it a fertile ground for drug trafficking, undocumented immigrant crossings, foreign-owned maquiladora factories and corrupt authorities. A deadly combination if mixed with Mexican “machismo” and the general disrespect for women.
From the beginning Steev wanted his film to stand out from other documentaries about Juarez done in the past. “My main concern was not to exploit the problem as many other films have” said Hise. But the most difficult part was talking to the mothers of the victims, according to the videographer.
The film has been traveling all over the border states and has been getting a very positive response from audiences. Now, Hise is a little excited and a little interested on how it’s going to be received by the San Diego and Tijuana audiences. He believes that it’s going to be fine, since “enough non-gringos have watched it” according to the filmmaker, yet he is interested in getting a different set of questions, since there is such awareness of the problem in Mexico.
The documentary will be screened along with a short by film maker Zulma Aguiar called The Mothers of Juarez. All proceeds from the film screening will benefit Nuestras Hijas de Regreso A Casa (May Our Daughters Return Home), a non-profit organization based in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico formed by family members and community activists who work on seeking justice.
At the Tijuana screening Hise will be joined by Sara Ruiz, the mother of Sara Benazir, a 15 year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered when she was thrown out of a running vehicle with her hands tied around her back.
For more information about the screening in San Diego and Tijuana visit his web site http://political.detritus.net/juarez/