Oct 2 · 3 min read

Nearly 3,000 families with children were separated at the U.S.-Mexico borderin 2018. TORN APART: SEPARATED AT THE BORDER, debuting THURSDAY, OCT. 10 (9:00–9:40 p.m. ET/PT), offers first-person stories of how the immigration crisis has affected two of those mothers whose children were separated from them. Directed and produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ellen Goosenberg Kent (“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”) and Talos Films, this intimate 40-minute documentary follows two mothers who fled life-threatening conditions in their home countries to seek asylum in the United States.

Photos: Vilma hugging her daughter, Yeisvi; Maria waiting for the flight to reunite with her son, Alex
Photo: Credit for all: Courtesy of HBO. Please note these are promotional photos for press only.

The documentary will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.

After fleeing violence that claimed the lives of her husband and two uncles in Honduras, María was detained and separated from her 10-year-old son Alex for 70 days. Vilma fled from her abusive husband in Guatemala and was placed in ICE detention, while her 11-year-old daughter, Yeisvi, was put in foster care for eight months. The film tracks both women as they navigate a complicated system that has placed their children thousands of miles away with few opportunities to communicate with them. With the help of friends and family, pro bono lawyers and community volunteers, Vilma and María eventually reunite with Yeisvi and Alex, yet both pairs await uncertain futures as their asylum claims remain pending.

Photos: Vilma and her daughter Yeisvi reunited and cuddling in their bed; Maria and her son Alex at home, reunited and reviewing his school work
Photos: Vilma; Maria and Alex going to meet with their immigration lawyer (Credit for all: Courtesy of HBO). Please note these are promotional photos for press only.

The film illuminates the laborious journey migrant families — including many women and children escaping violence and abuse — make to reach the U.S., only to be detained indefinitely and have their children transported to facilities hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Providing a human context to a fraught political issue, the documentary short reveals how arduous reunification is after separation for asylum seekers. Families detained at the border in 2018 were separated for an average of three months and some have yet to be reunited.

Photo: Director Ellen Goosenberg Kent (Credit: Susan Rosenberg/Courtesy of HBO). Please note this is a promotional photo for press only.

Ellen Goosenberg Kent’s previous HBO projects include the Oscar®-winning “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”; the Emmy®-nominated “Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq”; “Wartorn” and “One Nation Under Dog,” both of which earned Television Academy Honors®.

Photos: Maria (Credit for both: Courtesy of HBO). Please note these are promotional photos for press only.

TORN APART: SEPARATED AT THE BORDER is directed and produced by Ellen Goosenberg Kent; edited by Luis Álvarez y Álvarez; producer, Xochitl Dorsey; music by Tyler Strickland. For Talos Films: executive producers, Elli Hakami, Julian P. Hobbs. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, supervising producer, Sara Rodriguez.

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HBO & Cinemax PR

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Official Medium account for the @HBO and @Cinemax Corporate Communications team.

HBO & Cinemax PR

News and information from HBO & Cinemax.

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