Exclusive: According to the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 1,000 immigrant children separated from their families at the US border during the Trump administration have yet to be reunited with their parents.
Many other immigrant parents could still be waiting to get their children back if it weren’t for Immigrant Families Together, a mother-led organization that emerged in response to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance policy.” Stories of desperate parents helped by IFT are told in the documentary divided into routesDirected by Linda Goldstein Knowlton. Today, Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing announced that it has acquired the rights to the film, with plans to debut it March 3 in select theaters and on Netflix.
“divided into routes follows the emotional journey of mothers separated from their children at the US border and the grassroots initiative that, against all odds, reunites those families,” according to the film’s description. “When an asylum-seeking Guatemalan mother was separated from her children under a zero-tolerance policy, a Queens mother’s Facebook post united a movement as thousands of like-minded women across the U.S. refused to stand quietly. Immigrant families were born together as a rapid response group. What the government couldn’t—or wouldn’t do: Reunite parents with their children separated by zero-tolerance policies.
Rosario Dawson executive produced the film. Array’s deal covers distribution rights in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
“divided into routes commands your attention and evokes empathy,” said Tillen Jones, president of Array, which announced the acquisition. “The film showcases the power of citizens when united in alliance. We are delighted to add this timely and poignant documentary to our catalogue.”
The film held its world premiere at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Reviewing it for Deadline at SXSW, Anna Smith wrote, “The human cost of the ‘zero tolerance’ policy is here for all to see, and divided into routes Striking a healthy balance between critical exposure, calls to action, and respect for that most important human quality: kindness.”
Among the immigrant women in the documentary is Rosaira Pablo Cruz, who is from Guatemala. inside divided into routes, she describes how her husband was killed, she was shot twice, and she and her two sons were subjected to constant death threats. He fled north with his sons, leaving behind two daughters. When he entered the United States from Mexico, ICE agents detained him in Arizona and sent his sons to the other side of the country.
“I was separated from my two sons as soon as I arrived in the United States and we were separated for 81 days,” Cruz told Deadline. “They went to a foster care center in New York.”
IFT helped her get her sons back.
divided into routes Produced by Linda Goldstein Knowlton through Ladylike Films, Miranda Bailey through Cold Iron Pictures and Marty Noxon and Maria Grasso through Tiny Pyro Productions. Rosario Dawson serves as executive producer; Social Construct’s Jack Kilberg and Film Arcade’s Jason Beck are also serving as EPs, along with Regina Solorzano, Amanda Marshall and co-executive producer Lana Parrilla.
Gordon Bob of Dell, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein and Lezcano negotiated the acquisition on behalf of Array, ICM Partners, CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Split at the Root.