In a new documentary coming to Savannah on Nov. 7, five friends trek through the rocky wilds of the Texas borderlands capturing untamed wilderness as the region grapples with the construction of a new border wall.
Titled “The River and The Wall,” the award-winning film follows the group as they traverse the alluring and dangerous terrain stretching from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. Traveling by horseback, on mountain bikes and canoes, the group documented their 1,200-mile trip over the course of two and a half months along the U.S.-Mexico border.Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our morning, afternoon and Dine newsletters
It’s part of a special screening of two films presented by Mountainfilm on Tour Savannah and DIRTT at Service Brewing Company, a veteran owned and operated brewery located downtown. A social hour kicks off the event at 5:30 p.m., with the screening beginning at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 7. Tickets are $20, while the screening is free to all veterans.
Conservation filmmaker Ben Masters undertook the journey to explore the natural and ecological impacts of the massive stretch of border wall currently under construction. He is joined by NatGeo explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heathery Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado and conservationist Jay Kleberg. Masters says he initially set out to capture the beautiful landscape and what impacts the border wall might have on the region. As the group reached the heavily populated areas of the Texas-Rio Grande Valley, they soon came face-to-face with the human toll of the country’s ongoing immigration debate. Masters says he hopes the film will illuminate some of the issues being faced in the region.
“I hope that people watch the movie and realize the border is more than a black line on a map,” Masters said. “The border wall will have long-reaching impacts and consequences for thousands of Americans that live there and it will change a vibrant part of our country forever.”
The film will also feature an opening documentary, the short film “Grizzly Country,” featuring the wilds of the Montana and Wyoming back country and the bears who call it home. The documentary follows Green Beret and author, Doug Peacock, as he seeks solitude and peace in the area’s unforgiving and beautiful terrain. During years of solitude in the mountains, Peacock began filming the wild grizzly bears he encountered whom he says were his only companions throughout the life-changing experience.
Mountainfilm on Tour Savannah, is a local branch of Mountainfilm, a conservation and social justice-focused film festival held in Telluride, CO. Founders brought the festival to Savannah in 2009 after attending the original Colorado film festival for years.
The Mountainfilm on Tour Savannah film festival is held in January of each year, though all year long the group hosts events and screenings to engage the community and foster education.