Access streaming films licensed
by your school or institution -
Click here

Life on the Line: Coming of Age Between Nations

A valid video file was found, or could not be loaded!

Just two years ago, the Torrez family looked a lot like many American families: Mexican-American with immigrant roots, multilingual and multicultural, working class with two kids in public schools getting a decent education, living in a mid-sized American city and weathering the economic downturn with any work the primary bread-winner could find. But in an instant, everything changed. After fourteen years of living undocumented in the U.S., Vanessa Torrez crossed into Mexico when visiting her dying mother, and as the only family member without U.S. citizenship, was not allowed to return to her family in the U.S. So the Torrez family left everything behind and moved to Nogales, Sonora, committed to remaining together. Now, while the family lives in a dilapidated public housing compound at a dangerous border crossing, Kimberly must cross the border daily on foot to go to school in the U.S. Meanwhile, her father, Rick, finds himself unemployed, stricken with Hepatitis C, and in dire need of a liver transplant. Vanessa travels to Juarez to obtain the visa that will allow her to live in the U.S. with her children if her husband dies. Told through the eyes of adolescent Kimberly over the year in which her family is forced to straddle two countries, Life on the Line offers an intimate story from a quintessentially American place, illuminating the changing face of America and the impact of our immigration policies through the story of one girl and her family.
My institution already owns this title on DVD or VHS.  
NOTE: If this Discount is selected, no other Promotions or Discounts will be available.
Streaming - 5 Years, Institutional $ 330.00

License Period:  5 years
Closed Captioned:  Yes
Video Resolution:  Medium to High Resolution
View our Terms of Use

Streaming - 7 Years, Institutional $ 400.00

License Period:  5 years
Closed Captioned:  Yes
Video Resolution:  Medium to High Resolution
View our Terms of Use

Streaming - 3 Years, Institutional $ 250.00

License Period:  5 years
Closed Captioned:  Yes
Video Resolution:  Medium to High Resolution
View our Terms of Use

Streaming - 3 Years, Highschool $ 100.00

License Period:  3 years
Closed Captioned:  Yes
Video Resolution:  Medium to High Resolution
View our Terms of Use

Streaming - 3 days, Individual Use Only $ 4.99

Our terms of use for Individual Streams prohibit showing OnDemand films in a classroom or to groups.
Sharing of individual On Demand login information is also prohibited.
License Period:  3 days (beginning at time of purchase)
Closed Captioned:  Yes
Video Resolution:  Low to Medium Resolution
Rights for In-House Use $ 450.00

Licensed period of use:  5 years   View Terms and Conditions for In-House Use
Encoding:  H.264 MP4 Files and (if available) XML Caption files
File delivery via YouSendIt within 2 business days of payment
Purchase orders must be paid prior to file delivery
DVD

Life on the Line twists the straight iron fence between the US and Mexico into question marks not followed by simple answers.  Kimberly crosses the border of childhood into adolescence as she goes back and forth between countries every day, and as she matures, she joins the viewer in taking the conundrums of the border more seriously and personally.  This short film will provoke profound conversations about immigration reform in living rooms and classrooms across America.

-- Jim Burklo, Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California, Pastor, United Church of Christ. Environmental and social justice advocate, Arizona-Mexico border

The filmmaking approach to Life on the Line elegantly interweaves observational scenes with interviews, animation, third party news clips, and text cards that help advance the story as needed.  Life on the Line is a social issue film that eschews pedantic instruction and sentimentality in favor of subtle and empathetic storytelling. We don’t generally go along for the ride unless we can empathize with the characters––and the filmmakers successfully elicit our compassion, which fuels our curiosity and reveals a more nuanced way of looking at the world. Life on the Line doesn’t provide easy and formulaic answers. Instead, it successfully does what the best documentaries do: it transports us into someone else’s life, shows a different perspective, and leaves us thinking.

-- Helen Hood Scheer, Documentary Filmmaker and Professor, Diablo Valley College

Life on the Line tells the story of millions of children whose lived realities epitomize what mestiza-feminist theorist Gloria Anzaldúa called “a struggle of borders” through a close-up look at one young girl who bravely tries to hold her family together in the face of great economic, social, emotional and political assault.  As an antidote to the commonly xenophobic and dehumanizing public attitudes and policies surrounding illegal immigration, this film offers a heartfelt and humanizing portrait of a one of the most pressing issues of our time. This short film provides rich analytical fodder for teachers of Anthropology, Sociology, and Women’s Studies classes to explore transnational families, hybrid consciousness, the quest for belonging, and the frequent dramaturgies of citizenship marked by rupture, liminality, heartbreak and hope.

-- Clara Magliola, Sociology and Women’s Studies Professor, Chapman University
PBS national broadcast, fall 2014
University Film and Video Association Conference 2014, Best Documentary Honorable Mention
2014
Mexico International Film Festival, Best Environmental Documentary
2014
Arizona International Film Festival
2014
Los Angeles Lift Off Film Festival
2014
Chicago International Social Change Film Festival
2014
Saint Louis International Film Festival - Classroom Selection
2014
San Francisco Doc Fest
2014
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
2014
The Big Read Official Selection
2014
White Sands International Film Festival
2014
Jen Gilomen & Sally Rubin  Jen Gilomen, Co-Director and Cinematographer, and Sally Rubin, Co-Director and Editor, are the filmmaking team behind Fine Line Films. After working on numerous documentary and new media projects separately, they completed their first nationally-distributed documentary, Deep Down, in 2010.  Deep Down was broadcast nationally on the PBS Series Independent Lens, screened in over 200 communities via ITVS’s Community Cinema program and other festivals, is distributed by ITVS and New Day Films, and participated in the U.S. State Department’s American Documentary Showcase program, reaching audiences from Kentucky to Belarus. Deep Down garnered an Emmy nomination in the category of New Approaches to News and Documentary in 2011.

Search For Films

Featured New Films

The Caretaker + The Mayor
Two short films on Immigration in the U.S.

Brasslands
A vibrant ethnography of the cultures, lives and stories that collide in the Balkans at the world's largest brass band festival.

E Haku Inoa: To Weave A Name
E Haku Inoa: To Weave a Name takes a deep look at the importance of culturally minded care in the field of behavioral health and how easy it is for providers and trainers to take their own cultural biases for granted. The film touches upon how women and families can find themselves caught up in the child welfare system that does not always have proper cultural training and can cause unintentional damage through separation of families.The film also illustrates connections between the cultural suppression of indigenous people and the mental and social repercussions that still resonate through subsequent generations.

* Bitrate Switching?

All our streaming films implement a technology known as Bitrate Switching. This means that while viewing your purchased films, the optimal streaming experience is determined by the quality of your internet connection and the size of the player being used. This is done automatically by the website, and needs no settings or adjustment from you.