Walk 120 Miles in My Shoes

'Mojados: Through the Night'

Walk 120 Miles in My Shoes

Ladies and gentlemen, this year's Golden Cojones award goes to first-time documentarian Tommy Davis, who walked 120 miles to film four of the thousands of Mexicans who illegally enter the U.S. on foot each year.

In shooting Mojados: Through the Night, Davis ate what the four men ate (increasingly green tortillas, while they lasted), drank what they drank (water scavenged from cattle tubs, when they could find it), slept among the cacti, and schlepped 80 pounds of gear.

Nevertheless, he managed to keep his spirits up, at least most of the time.

"At one point, I knew we were walking in a circle, but I didn't have a compass to prove it," Davis recalls. "Finally I just sat down on the ground and told them I needed a break."

Another challenge was that Davis knew neither Spanish nor his subjects well. After spending about six weeks asking around for a group of migrants heading out of the small Mexican town where he was staying, he finally met one the day before they left. "Oso" was the man's nickname. He was the veteran of several trips north, and he made Davis prove his grit by climbing a mountain with him. He also taught Davis the rules of the desert.

"You can't take a knife or anything that might be used against you," he explains. "And if anyone gets hurt and can't go on, they're left behind."

Davis met the other three men the next day. Their unfamiliarity with Davis and one another (plus their trying circumstances) meant the trip was not exactly rolling in witty banter. In addition, the men didn't want Davis to film some emotional moments, like their tearful departures from their families. However, through its stark, simple depiction of the crossing experience, Mojados still sends a powerful message.

"It just shows we have no clue what people will do for a job," Davis says. He recalls meeting a 12-year-old who had made it to Arizona but lost his family in the process.

"I asked where he was going, and he said, 'Florida,'" Davis says. "It was 110 degrees that day, and he was ready to just start walking."

Mojados screens as part of the Lone Star States program at the Dobie, 3/15, 1pm (the world premiere), and 3/17, 3pm.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

More by Rachel Proctor May
Chartering Middle School
Chartering Middle School
Hoping to reach middle-schoolers who could go off track in a regular school setting, district moves forward with charter school plans

June 2, 2006

TAKS Scores Show Both Improvement and Trouble for AISD
TAKS Scores Show Both Improvement and Trouble for AISD
Numbers down for the crucial third and 11th grades

May 26, 2006

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle