DUSTWUN is a fable about one of the most contentious and troubling challenges of our time - immigration and the Wall. Our nation’s ideological divides have become so extreme that the only thing we share in common is the feeling of alienation from, and fear of, one another. The drive to protect our borders and preserve our national identity by keeping out the “other” has brought to bear essential questions about who we are at our core, and about the future we are building. DUSTWUN endeavors to understand and elevate what binds us together as human beings, irrespective of metaphorical, or actual, borders.
The complexity of the concerns surrounding immigration – spanning how to deal with the rising global crisis of political/climate refugees crossing borders into territories where they are seldom welcome, to the horrible practices in human and drug trafficking - inspired me to write in the simplest way I could. The characters are written as archetypes for different positions in the immigration debate, intended to evoke questions without trying to sway opinion. I created a simple context where two unlikely individuals form a friendship despite not sharing a common language. The wall, and Kenny’s madness, are symbols of the core insanity of the idea that we are separate at all.
DUSTWUN came out of my experience living in Southern Arizona near the US/Mexico border for the past four years. My research for the film involved going on rescue missions with the Samaritans (a group that gives aide to crossing migrants), interviewing veterans involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Central America, interviewing my step-brother who is a Border Patrol agent, and extensive reading on issues surrounding immigration. We built our set in an active crossing site in Green Valley, Arizona, and used many real artifacts abandoned by migrants. We shot during monsoon season and encountered lightning strikes, flash floods, rattlesnakes and gila monsters, and a host of other mind-boggling human spectacles, now being sculpted into a making-of documentary by friend and colleague Christina Oliver.