Undeterred tells the story of the build up of enforcement along the US/ Mexico border and how it functions.  Through intimate portraits, raw footage and artful animation, it shows how life in one small town has changed and how local residents have organized to push back and resist those changes.

"Gripping, and beautifully executed".

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laureate Professor at the University of Arizona

Undeterred is a documentary about community resistance in the rural border town of Arivaca, Arizona. Since NAFTA, 9/11 and the Obama and Trump administrations border residents have been on the front-lines of the humanitarian crisis caused by increased border enforcement build up. Undeterred is an intimate and unique portrait of how residents in a small rural community, caught in the cross-hairs of global geo-political forces, have mobilized to demand our rights and to provide aid to injured, oft times dying people funneled across a wilderness desert.

The film was made by Eva Lewis, a resident of Arivaca and long time member of People Helping People in the Border Zone (PHP). Undeterred was created in close collaboration with the Arivaca community and members of PHP.


"Undeterred captures and exposes the inherent violence and lawlessness that underpins border enforcement—and the terror that is deployed against whole populations in the process. Undeterred also tells another story—one of humanity. Interweaving storytelling-like narrative and artistic motifs, we learn the moving stories and perspectives of migrant-crossers, and the tragic consequences built into the very design and faulty logic of so-called “prevention through deterrence” policy. We also witness the beauty of resistance growing from below, and how it can crack the foundation of the militarized border regime. People from across the affected border towns and indigenous nations pull together to resist the real invaders, la migra, and wage heroic struggle to eject them from their communities. This is a story we must all learn—and become part of."

Justin Akers Chacón, Professor of US History and Chicano Studies and Co-Author, with Mike Davis, of No One Is Illegal

"We often hear that the Mexico-U.S. border is “porous” and “open.” “Undeterred” shows us the reality: the suffering and deaths of thousands of migrants as they try to cross, and the trauma of border residents as they try to live their daily lives in what has become a militarized zone. This film is a powerful tool for countering misinformation and for demonstrating how communities can fight for a rational, humane immigration policy."

David L. Wilson, co-author, with Jane Guskin, of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers

 "[Undeterred] is very well done.  The personal stories are both poignant and quite effective at conveying the day-to-day experience of living under military occupation and constant surveillance.  The more analytic moments help to put all of that in the context of the evolving brutal policy regimes that have been fostered since Nafta’s passage.  I hope this film gets the wide attention it deserves."

Marvin Watersone, Professor Emeritus of geography at the University Of Arizona
Director's Commentary: 

My name is Eva Lewis and I am the producer and director of UNDETERRED. I am an independent artist, organizer, media maker and storyteller. I have long been interested in the intersections between art, immigration and militarism.

In 2013, I moved to Arivaca, Arizona, the border community in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, that is the subject of UNDETERRED. The desert is awe-inspiring, beautiful and deadly. Men and women die every day attempting to cross it. When visiting the area, you are confronted at every turn with the ubiquitous military like presence of the Border Patrol. Having spent time in conflict zones, such as Colombia and the Gaza strip, where military occupation is an unchanging fact of life, I can honestly say that from my perspective, the US/ Mexico border is a low intensity war zone.

Living here is a daily struggle in reconciling the competing realities of small town life and the death and suffering of the border. Yet, the courage and humanity of Arivaca residents to resist the policies creating this suffering has inspired me and given me hope. I feel that my experience living and working in conflict zones, has given me the necessary background to tell the story of the border crisis in this town. In addition my relationship with the Arivaca community, built through living here, has given me an access to and understanding of this story that I believe to be unique. At every step of the way, the making of UNDETERRED has been a community effort, a story told about and through the collective process. The entire film was made in close collaboration with the community organizers who are its subjects.

Through this process I have tried to show not just images of protests and talking heads but the day-to-day shots that capture the texture of life for those most affected by conflict and militarism. The story of Arivaca is that of both a breathtaking and deadly landscape, inspiring community activism and tragic human suffering, the struggle for a just immigration policy and the encroachment of militarism into our lives and our collective psyche. The intent of this project is to document this through the art of film, to show the desert and the border for all their misery and beauty as well as their potential for transformation.