Backpack Journalism Documentary Premieres

Backpack Journalism Documentary Premieres

A town named Nogales can be found on both sides of the U.S. and Mexican borders. Separated by a 20-foot wall, the two cities share similar cultural aspects, but the journey from Nogales, Mexico, to Nogales, Ariz., can be fatal for migrants who attempt to cross.

Yet, with the promise of reuniting with family and opportunity on the other side, migrants cross from Mexico each day. Though they may be deported, places like the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) are there to provide humanitarian assistance and advocate for the rights of the migrants.

“You’re going to do whatever it takes, even if it means losing your life, to be reunited with your family,” said KBI volunteer Daniela Vargas.

This summer, Creighton University students documented daily life on the U.S.-Mexico border, the people who live there, the migrants passing through and the work of KBI volunteers. Through the Backpack Journalism program, 12 students interviewed migrants, activists and volunteers, creating the mini-documentary, El Deportado, which premiered at Creighton in October.

Backpack Journalism is a collaborative, immersive, five-week program, during which students produce a mini-documentary telling a story of marginalized people. Since 2010, Backpack Journalism has produced five documentaries. Each documentary focuses on incorporating elements of theology within greater societal issues, highlighting the Catholic Church’s mission to help those who live at the margins of society.

Backpack Journalism received funding as part of the Creighton Global Initiative (CGI) — an effort by Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, to enrich and embrace the University’s global focus. More than 30 campus proposals were awarded nearly $1.5 million in CGI funding in April.