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Bordertown - Preview and humanitarian award


Preview by Jack Foley

JENNIFER Lopez has been awarded the Artists for Amnesty honour by human rights group Amnesty International for her latest film, Bordertown.

Set in the Mexican town of Ciudad Juarez, the film was shown in competition at the Berlin Film Festival and co-stars Martin Sheen and Antonio Banderas.

It examines the shocking statistic that over the past decade, the town has witnessed a number of unsolved rapes and murders of young women.

According to Amnesty, the killings began in 1993 and although an extact figure for the number of deaths is not known, it’s believed to be more than 400.

Lopez plays Lauren Fredericks, an ambitious journalist working for the Chicago Sentinental, who dreams of being able to go to Iraq as a foreign correspondent. But her older boss and patron, George Morgan, sends her to Juarez in Mexico instead, the town on the Mexican-American border.

She subsequently discovers a town paralysed by fear and discovers the story of Evam, the latest victim, who was sitting in a bus on the way back to Oaxaca when she was brutally assaulted and raped by the bus driver and another man, who then tried to strangle her.

Once Lauren learns of the crimes, she realises that Eva’s story will bring her closer to fulfilling her dream of going to Iraq.

Lopez produced the movie and said she was “very humbled” to receive the prize from East Timor’s Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace laureate.

She went on to describe the situation in Ciudad Juarez as “one of the world’s most shocking and disturbing, underreported crimes against humanity”.

Police have made several arrests and attributed several of the murdersto serial killers, drug cartels and domestic violence, as well as the work of several gangs. But every time the police secure an arrest or conviction, the murders continue.

Also present at the Amnesty ceremony in Berlin was Norma Andrade, whose 17-year-old daughter was found murdered in February 2001. She has since co-founded Our Daughters Back Home (Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa), a legal support group for victims’ parents.

“She’s a remarkable woman and a true inspiration,” added Lopez, describing her a source of strength and inspiration the many women who continue to suffer in the town.

Bordertown is yet to receive a UK release date.