For job seekers in El Paso, Texas, a high paying option is law enforcement. The city sits on the US-Mexico border and is teeming with officers from the Border Patrol, ICE, DEA, Texas State Police, local Police Department and Sheriff’s Department. In addition, there is the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Teens who wish to embark on this career can study law enforcement in programs across Texas, including one at Horizon High School in the El Paso area. The Horizon program and three of its students are the subject of On loan, premiered in the American Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
“We met these students, they all had different and compelling stories that they were all open to sharing,” director Maisie Crow said during an appearance on Deadline’s Sundance virtual studio. “We really wanted to look at the world through their eyes during that time and in this program.”
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The students received training in anti-drug busts and active shooting situations. Many of the program’s participants are Latinos, with family ties across the border in Juárez, Mexico, and some have started to feel ethical qualms about finding jobs that might involve cracking down on undocumented immigrants. . This was especially true for a character in the film, Cristina Martinez.
“You really see her developing a greater sense of the national conversation that has been going on from the start that was maybe a little bit out of reach there because she lived there locally,” noted producer Abbie Perrault. “But as these topics have invaded the national consciousness, as these migrant caravans and these child separation policies emerge, I think she really has to take into account some of the deep complexities that come with choosing a career. like that and whether she wants to strengthen herself and move on. “
“One thing I really admire about the young adults in the film is that they think critically about these topics,” observed producer Hillary Pierce, “about how they affect their own lives and their own. family and it’s really quite refreshing to see. , and his [also] hard to see them struggle with these things.
Crow, Perrault, and Pierce are all Texas-based filmmakers, which gives them a solid foundation for making On loan.
“I think knowledge and understanding are very important in telling the story,” Crow commented.
“As Texan storytellers, we understand the nuances and maybe the unexpected aspects of some of the people you meet here and their perceptions of things and their beliefs,” Pierce added. “And I think it’s important to be a little local in the story… to tell it authentically and to tell it with an open mind.”
Watch the full conversation in the video above.