About Vanishing Borders

Vanishing Borders is a feature documentary that tells the story of four immigrant women living in New York City, who are transforming their communities through their work, activism, and the way their cultural hybridity influences their interactions with others. While media portrayals of immigration primarily present it as an abstract threat, this documentary finds the face and heart behind the thousands of people who come into the United States every year determined to make the life they’ve always dreamed of a reality.

At times humorous, poignant, and heartbreaking, the stories of Yatna, Daphnie, Melainie, and Teboho provide viewers with a diverse yet profound look at the beauty and pain of leaving one’s home behind to start over somewhere else. As the women express the benefits of merging different cultures, they also explore how being a woman transforms the immigrant experience. The roles of daughter, sister, mother, wife, girlfriend, student, teacher, and activist take on a new, radiant light as the four protagonists bring them to life on the screen, brimming with the many colors and flavors that result from blending their home cultures with American ways of living.

Why This Film?

Although immigration is as old as the United States itself, it is a topic that has sparked much controversy throughout the country’s history. With every new wave of immigrants comes fear for the loss—or at least the diluting—of American values. Our current situation is no different as fear of immigrants rings across the country. The one change is that the digital revolution allows for immigrants and anti-immigration groups to make their stories and opinions heard in screens big and small all over the world.

As a way to join the conversation, Vanishing Borders invites viewers to get lost in the stories of its four protagonists. While it offers no definite answers, the film showcases a complex and inspiring portrayal of immigration through four lives, providing viewers with an in-depth understanding of how immigration can transform those who arrive into a new country and those who interact with immigrants. Eclipsing the abstractness of statistics and economic reports, this film humanizes and feminizes the immigrant experience, allowing viewers to connect to real people as they decide where they stand on the immigration debate.

Who Is It for?

Because of the complexity of the issues it explores, Vanishing Borders is geared to a variety of audiences. Since films focusing on the female experience are so rare, this documentary’s exploration of womanhood will resonate with women from around the world, whether or not they have ever left their motherland. Similarly, because it manages to humanize immigration in a unique, powerful way, people of any age and gender curious about or living through immigration will be captivated by the protagonists’ stories. Moreover, since the four women place such a strong emphasis on the value of education and because the film provides a rare in-depth look at immigration, high school and college instructors and community and activist organizations around the world will find Vanishing Borders to be a powerful tool in opening up discussion and leading to action on the subjects of immigration and gender.