WHAT: Nacido de Neuvo, an extremely timely short film about a border patrol agent and an illegal immigrant.
WHO: Los Angeles-based director Evan Kaufmann.
WHY WE CARE: “This whole situation seems very black-and-white,” utters a commanding border patrol officer near the end of this short film. It couldn’t be further from the truth–and that’s the point. Nacido de Neuvo, which translates to “born again,” exists inside the gray areas of America’s pressure-cooker immigration situation. It’s about as subtle as a chainsaw, but Nacido de Neuvo explores the human toll of border enforcement in a way that treats those on both sides respectfully.
The film instantly ground us in the moment, with a TV in the background airing footage of Trump at a rally, leading his followers in a chant about building a wall. But while Nacido de Neuvo is clearly a narrative response to Trump’s election, the immigration story it tells is not as simple as “open borders are good; the wall is bad.” It starts with white, semi-rookie border patrol agent Garrett getting partnered up with veteran Hispanic agent Ramon, who is so hardened by his years of duty that he’s completely unmoved hearing that a 12-year old girl has just been killed in a shootout while crossing the border. Eventually, the two run into some illegals, and a simple arrest is complicated by a pregnant woman giving chase. By the time the situation is resolved, tragically, viewers will have a lot to think about.
Nacido de Neuvo is powerful, extremely timely work from an up-and-comer to watch. According to Short of the Week, Kaufmann is currently working on a feature-length film in the same vein, so hopefully, we’ll be seeing more from him soon.