CALEXICO – Borderlands Institute concluded the final segment of the Jimmy Dorantes Project Series Wednesday night at the San Diego State University – Imperial Valley library with a film screening of Dorantes’ documentary Life Along the Border.
Aside from personal photographs and images produced in his early youth while growing up in Calexico, Dorantes’ professional accomplishments also include working with the Associated Press and Time Magazine.
“This film is about the history of immigration between Mexico and the United States,” explained Carlos Herrera, SDSU associate Dean of Academic Affairs. “It covers a lot of themes, questions, and issues that are very relevant to the present – issues that have been around for quite a long time, well over 100 years.”
Life Along the Border is composed of photos that were taken by Dorantes himself from as early as the 1960s, as well as copyrights to pictures and last plate negatives that were acquired throughout his life, and images from the Library of Congress Collection that were digitized by Dorantes.
The film screening was a 33-minute series of clips that were pieced together by Dorantes to give an overview of the intended extended version that is still in the making.
Beginning with the Mexican American War, the documentary explores the negotiations included in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war in 1948, and the cultural dynamic of repatriation versus assimilation that resulted.
Another theme touched on was the Mexican Revolution and the violent warfare that established, for the first time in the 20th century, the motive for people to come to the United States to get away from something bad.
“I feel the audience will gradually expand because of the significance of the theme and how many questions people have about immigration and its evolution since the 1800s,” stated Herrera.
“The material and photos I used in this film are mostly for a tailored a view of the overall history of the border from the Calexico angle,” said Dorantes. “I want to show people from Calexico a little part of their history in a more intimate way,” he added about his target audience.