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University of Iowa News Release

June 9, 2004

Director To Discuss Film On U.S.-Mexican Border June 17 At UI

John Carlos Frey, whose award-winning movie "The Gatekeeper" depicts the current civil unrest at the U.S.-Mexican border, will visit the University of Iowa Thursday, June 17, to lead a discussion following a screening of his film at the Bijou Theatre. This event, which is open to the public, is part of the week-long UI International Programs Summer Institute for Teachers. The film starts at 7 p.m. and $5 tickets are available at the Bijou Ticket Office in the Iowa Memorial Union or at the door. The film will also be shown June 17 through 23 at the Bijou.

The June 17 film screening and discussion are co-sponsored by UI International Programs, The Bijou Theatre and the Latin American Studies Program.

The film is a true-to-life drama based on Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Border Patrol reports as well as countless first hand accounts of hopeful migrant struggles. Adam Fields, played by Frey, is a U.S. Border Patrol Agent who is vigilant about keeping the flood of undocumented immigrants at bay. Without support or approval from the U.S. Border Patrol, Fields goes undercover to expose and publicize the criminal nature of Mexicans illegally pursuing freedom in American. His plan goes wrong, and he ends up trapped within a well-organized crystal methamphetamine drug ring in central California.

Frey was born in Tijuana, Mexico, and grew up in San Diego within sight of the border fence. "The Gatekeeper" is a highly personal story for this first-time director. His concern is not only the result of first-hand knowledge and experience of the issues raised in this film, but of the escalating controversies surrounding immigration, the border and the people who come to the U.S. seeking a better life.

The institute, "The U.S.-Mexico Border and Immigration," runs June 14 to 18 and is a continuing-education opportunity for K-12 teachers. Educators will have opportunities to speak with leading experts in the field, including John Paul Chaisson-Cardenas of the Iowa Division of Latino Affairs and Jesse Villalobos with the National Conference for Community Justice (NCCJ). Anne Woodrick will discuss the University of Northern Iowa's New Iowans Project, designed as a companion to the PBS Miniseries "The New Americans." The workshop will also feature a visit to the Women's Archives at UI Libraries, and evening entertainment.

Claire F. Fox, associate professor of English in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will conduct the institute. Fox's teaching and research interests include inter-American cultural studies, Mexican and U.S.-Mexican border arts and culture, visual culture studies and cultural policy studies. She is the author of "The Fence and the River: Culture and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border" (University of Minnesota Press, 1999). Her essays have appeared in "Iris," "Discourse," "Social Text," "Studies in Latin American Popular Culture" and "Studies in Twentieth Century Literature." She is currently working on a book about hemispheric cultural policy and art criticism during the Cold War period.

Fox has been teaching interdisciplinary border studies courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels for 10 years. She taught a similar seminar for K-6 educators through the Summer Multicultural Institute of the Campbell Union School District in Campbell, Calif.

During the institute, Fox will offer an historical overview of U.S. immigration policy and present information about contemporary developments in the border region. Such developments include the impact of free trade on border economies, the growth of anti-immigrant militias in the U.S. Southwest, and the status of women workers in Mexican border assembly plants. The seminar will also emphasize the implications of border policy and Mexican migration for Iowa and the upper Midwest.

For a complete schedule of events, contact Buffy Quintero, International Programs outreach coordinator and institute organizer, 319-335-0345 or

To request a high-resolution image to use with publicity, visit

The Institute is funded through International Programs by a Title VI National Resource Center grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Additional support comes from the UI Office of the Provost and the UI Office of Continuing Education.

UI International Programs consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research, and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Amy Green, 319-335-1433,; Program: Buffy Quintero, 319-335-0345,; Writer: Lois Gray