The Tinaja Trail – Official Selection of the Arizona International Film Festival!

The Tinaja Trail will be screening in Tucson, AZ as an official selection of the Arizona International Film Festival.  More details will follow within the next few days.  The AZ Film Fest takes place in Tucson and southern AZ from April 11-27, 2014.  We’re thrilled to have our Arizona premiere in a city that produced much of the content documented in the film.

AZ International Film Fest

AZ International Film Fest


The Tinaja Trail World Premiere – March 22

We’re thrilled to announce the world premiere of The Tinaja Trail! The film will be premiering at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, March 22nd at 3:10pm. It will play as one of six films in the documentary feature competition category (three of which are world premieres). See more at

GIFF Official Selection

GIFF Official Selection

The Tinaja Trail in Germany at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art

We’re thrilled to announce that a segment from the film will be exhibited at the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art in Karlsruhe, Germany, beginning this Friday, Dec. 13th.  The video, which contains excerpts from the film that are primarily focused on the Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT), will play alongside the TBT as part of an exhibit entitled “global aCtIVISm” that runs until March 30, 2014.  The TBT is an artwork produced by the Electronic Disturbance Theater that imagines leading migrants to water in desolate regions of the borderlands while also reciting poetry.

The video that will be playing at ZKM will be made available to all backers who pledged at least $15 during our Kickstarter campaign (by way of Vimeo link and password).  Access to additional interview footage is also coming very soon!

Thank you for your continued support!

The Tinaja Trail

We are pleased to announce that after shuffling through various titles during production, the film has finally found its official name: The Tinaja Trail. The film is now substantially complete, although we do have some final audio work and color correction to do yet, and we have currently submitted to more than 25 film festivals. We look forward to announcing our world premiere as soon as possible in the coming months, hopefully in the first few months of 2014 as we begin to hear back from these festivals. Throughout this process we will begin fulfilling our rewards commitments to all of our wonderful backers.

We’re also getting ready to debut a portion of the film in a museum. We’ve been invited to exhibit a short piece of the film, highlighting the Transborder Immigrant Tool, in a European museum as part of an exhibit on that project! Thanks to Ricardo Dominguez for this wonderful invitation and opportunity to showcase a portion of the film! More details to come soon.

I also wanted to share a poster idea for your review – we’d love to get feedback on the style and layout of this prior to actually printing materials in preparation for the film festival circuit. Let us know what you think!

The Tinaja Trail - Poster

Win a free digital download of the film!

Win 1 of 5 free digital downloads of the film! We’re running a sharing competition on Facebook. We’ve pinned a link to our Kickstarter campaign to the top of our Facebook page (the post is here). If at least 40 people share that post on Facebook within the next week, each person who shares it will be entered into a random drawing to win a free download of the film before it is publicly released!


The Tinaja Trail (a new documentary film from HFI)

Please help us produce this powerful, groundbreaking story about persistence, creativity, and compassion.

Make a Secure Donation Now

Donate to the project today (donations are fully tax deductible, thanks to our sponsorship by the Center for Independent Documentary).  Donate today and we’ll provide you with the thank you gifts outlined here.

Illegal Immigration. Politics. Humanitarian Response. Art. Technology. Poetry.

At the border, the difference between humanitarian service and illegal activity is not always black and white.

Natural water sources in the American Southwest are extremely rare and, where they do exist, often extremely hard to get to (think: bottom of the “Grand Canyon,” for instance). For centuries, survival in this unforgiving land has hinged on one’s ability to locate natural cavities or wind-carved cisterns in rocks called tinajas (tee-NAH-hahs). Capturing rain during the rare desert storm, and shaded from the sun, these catch-basins— often only inches across, centimeters deep, and teeming with insects and their larvae— are precious, lifesaving treasures to desert-dwelling animals … and desert-traversing humans.

It seems reproachfully paradoxical, then, that this region would today host the primary trail of hope for thousands of people seeking gainful work and the promise of a brighter future. It’s a desperate journey— one that has cost the lives, and ended the hopes, of hundreds of people per year since 1999.

It is likewise a politically supercharged arena; a legal, moral and political maelstrom poised like a flame near a tinderbox of sentiment.

For years, volunteers have dropped water and aid containers along popular routes of migration and have searched the desert for dying immigrants. In one case, the Transborder Immigrant Tool presents itself as a technological tinaja: an art project that promises to guide migrants to caches of water placed along migratory trails.

To some, these are selfless and inspirational efforts that give new and poignant context to the phrase “the Art of Survival.” To others, such action irresponsibly induces illegal border crossing, tantamount to aiding and abetting unlawful conduct. From the perspectives of both the undocumented migrants and the aid-givers, “The Tinaja Trail” provides a compelling tale of life and death, and compassionate service, along the road to the American Dream.

The film examines the social, legal, and humanitarian aspects wrapped up in this difficult topic. It tells the stories of immigrants crossing the border and of the volunteers attempting to save their lives, all while seeking to discover where true “humanitarian service” ends and where irresponsible conduct begins. The project is fiscally sponsored by the Center for Independent Documentary ( and is eligible to receive tax deductible donations under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.

(“The Tinaja Trail” is a feature length documentary film coming in the fall of 2013, formerly titled, “We Have a Wall” and “The Art of Survival: Life and Death on the Tinaja Trail” during production.

Donate today and we will express our gratitude by giving you the following thank you gifts:

Get our sincere thanks!: $10
Our sincere thanks, and your name in the credits of the film and on the film’s website.

Early Access to Extra Footage: $25
Get early online access to some of the footage that didn’t make the final film, including extended interviews with the film’s cast (+ get your name in the film’s credits and on the website).

Digital Copy + Early Access to Extra Footage: $50
Get a high-definition (1080p) digital download of the film before it’s released to the public (+ everything above).

DVD + Digital copy + Early Access to Extra Footage: $75
Get a signed copy of a special early edition DVD release of the film + an HD digital download of the film before it is released to the public! (+ everything above) (note: digital download will be available prior to the release of the DVD, which will come later).

Special Edition Blu-Ray + Everything Above: $100
Get a signed copy of special early edition Blu-Ray release of the film + a DVD + a digital download of the film before it is released to the public! (+ everything above) (note: digital download will be available prior to the release of the Blu-ray/DVD, which will come later).

You, on the film’s DVD! + Everything Above: $250
Blu-Ray, DVD, HD digital download, film credit, early access to additional footage + Get your own 20 seconds of fame in the DVD/Blu-ray special features! Send us a 20 second video clip that explains why you care about these issues or contributed to the film, and we’ll include it in the special features portion of the DVD and on our website (please keep it clean and relevant – we reserve the right to edit for content). (note: digital download will be available prior to the release of the Blu-ray/DVD, which will come later).

Assistant Producer Credit + Tickets to a Screening + Everything Above: $750 (2 available; Check Kickstarter for availability)
Welcome to the team, get an Assistant Producer credit + Tickets (2) to a screening of the film (as close as we can get to your home or preferred location), as well as a second DVD or Blu-Ray disc to share with someone else. + everything above. (note: digital download will be available prior to the release of the Blu-ray/DVD, which will come later).