Filmmaker focuses on reality of undocumented immigrants

Auditions will be held Jan. 30-31 at The WorkPub, 847 E. Elizabeth St., for a short film to be shot in March in the Brownsville area.

The film, titled “Del Rio,” is the master’s thesis of ColumbiaUniversity film school graduate student Raj Trivedi, writer and director of the project. Brittany Northcross is the producer and Miguel Angel Camacho the executive director.


Trivedi said the story deals with a family of migrant workers who become separated on the border.

“The husband, Raul, gets separated from his wife, who’s pregnant and over here,” he said. “The story is about the trials and travails of him trying to figure out how to get back across to reunite with his family.”

Trivedi said his original plan was to shoot the film in Del Rio, but he opted for Brownsville after hearing of the city’s film commission and the beauty of the LowerRio GrandeValley. He’s keeping the original title since it’s still a story of the river, he said.

Trivedi said he can empathize with the undocumented experience since he himself was undocumented for a time following his parents’ move to the ClearLake neighborhood of Houston, where he grew up.

“Knowing the challenges of just living with that in the back of your mind is terrifying,” he said. “Day in, day out, you’re living in fear. You can’t talk to anyone about it because you never know who your friends are. You never know if the people closest to you could be the ones that turn on you.

“These are the kinds of fears people live with daily, and not because they’ve necessarily done anything wrong. They’re just trying to survive. They’re trying to make the best of their lives.”

Trivedi said his intent is not to pass judgment on his characters, whether they’re border patrol agents or undocumented immigrants, and is striving to make the film as true to life as possible. In fact, his interview with a helpful CBP agent and interviews with those who’ve experienced the other side have proved invaluable, he said.