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!


We’re on Kickstarter! Donate and get great thank you gifts.

The film is almost complete! We need your help to get it finished so that this important story can be shared. All donations and pledges are fully tax deductible through our sponsorship by the Center for Independent Documentary, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

See our Kickstarter page here:

Our Kickstarter Campaign

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).