When Mountains Fall

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Update: Late Spring, 2020; the crisis continues.

Today the world finds itself facing the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.ˮ
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s migration commissioner, speaking in 2015.

At the end of February, 2020, the Turkish government unilaterally ended its blockade of refugees crossing to Greece. The blockade had been brokered with the EU in early 2016 to stem the tide of hundreds of thousands fleeing to Europe.

In early March, thousands of refugees began once again streaming across the land and sea borders into Greece, where tens of thousands already live in camps or detention centers. Thousands more live in legal limbo, uncertain of their fate, unable to restart their lives, and, in many cases, unable to rejoin family and loved ones.

This time, however, they were met with military force and vigilante violence, and were even prevented from leaving their rafts after the dangerous crossing from Turkey. These video clips show two of many incidents.

A Story for Our Time

Throughout the world, people are on the move, fleeing war, terror, and oppression. Seeking a better life. The “refugee story” of 2016, largely the result of war in Syria, occupied our screens and our thoughts for a few months, then it faded — at least, for a while. But its effects continue. Governments all over Europe have been toppled by a new, nativist, politics. An administration took over in Washington, D.C., determined that the US should close its doors to the very people the Statue of Liberty has beckoned for over a hundred years. This story is about one of the seminal events of our time; a new mass movement of human beings. It returns and will continue to return because we no longer live in a world where borders can stop desperate people. It is the premise of this film that a new paradigm has to be found, one that balances reality with compassion, security with human rights. And we believe that a film that speaks to young people, about young people, can be a voice in this debate.

Teaching and Inspiring Young People

This film is intended for middle and high school students. It will be accompanied by a study guide. The study guide, in concurrent development, includes an extended series of questions for classroom discussion.

 What do refugees need and what help do they receive?

What role have refugees played in our own history?

What do we owe refugees?

What rights do refugees have under the law, and are they being adhered to?

How does the rise of anti-refugee sentiment in the US and Europe affect the future prospects of these young people?

What does the situation in Europe tell us about our own country and its policies toward refugees?

What can we/should we be doing to affect policies on refugees and asylum?

What role has migration played in human history?

Where are we now?

We have made great progress in the last few months.

  • Principal photography was completed in late 2019. Follow-up is being done now.
  • Editing a rough cut was begun in October of 2019.
  • We secured fiscal sponsorship after a close review by our sponsors. This means that contributions to this project are fully tax-deductible.
  • We secured the services of reknowned composer Richard Emmet.
  • Time-consuming but essential translation and transcription work on tens of hours of footage was accomplished.
  • This website was created.

How you can help

You can help us finish and distribute When Mountains Fall.

Our aim is to have this film in classrooms in Fall, 2020.

Your contribution will make it possible for us to finish a project that is more than a year in the making. 

Our goal is $140,000. This sum will allow us to:

  • Edit to final cut
  • Secure rights to essential archival footage
  • Create our score
  • Secure legal services required for distribution.
  • Produce our accompanying curicullum guide.
  • Secure distribution agreements

We need your help!

You can make your contribution online directly through our fiscal sponsor, From The Heart Productions. The button below will take you to our funding page at From The Heart. Prefer to send a check? No problem! Send your check to the following address:

From The Heart Productions
1455 Mandalay Beach Road
Oxnard, California 93035-2845

You can help us finish this film and get it into classrooms throughout the US and elsewhere.

Your contribution is tax-deductible.

If you would like to view our fiscal sponsorship document, click the button below.

Join our update list

Keep in touch. We'll do the same, but sparingly. We'll announce milestones, completions, screenings, and, of course, our thanks for your involvement.

About the Site

All materials on this website are copyright © 2020, by When Mountains Fall, unless otherwise noted. Many thanks to our team, our supporters and helpers. Special thanks to Nisha Bolsey for editorial and Carole Bolsey for original art used throughout the site!

When Mountains Fall

When Mountains Fall

When Mountains Fall

When Mountains Fall

When Mountains Fall

When Mountains Fall