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On The Divide follows the story of three Latinx people living in McAllen, Texas who, despite their views, are connected by the most unexpected of places: the last abortion clinic on the U.S./Mexico border. As threats to the clinic and their personal safety mount, these three are forced to make decisions they never could have imagined.

Synopsis

McAllen, Texas is home to Whole Woman’s Health — the last abortion clinic in the US/Mexico order. Mercedes, a tattooed Latina woman in her thirties who used to be involved in gangs, is now part of the pro-life Church movement, embracing the support from the Christian pregnancy center located next door to the clinic. Denisse, a young mother of four, volunteers at Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen and helps guide women into the clinic, providing much-needed comfort and assistance. Protecting the entryway into the clinic is Rey, a Latino security guard in his late sixties who is fervent in his religious beliefs, but also deeply understands the plight of the women who arrive at the abortion clinic.

Their life decisions intertwine at this abortion clinic, as they grapple with how their devotion informs their role in fighting for or against abortion rights. The film chronicles their actions during the shadow of the Trump administration, the storytelling bolstered by an empathetic lens and an authentic concern for spotlighting the consistent assault on reproductive rights. Throughout On the Divide, filmmakers Maya Cueva and Leah Galant expertly bring the audience into the rising tensions—and humanity—at the center of this contentious issue.

"I want people to understand that the issue surrounding abortion is not a black and white issue. Many people fall in the gray area with how they feel on the issue, and we need to start having conversations about abortion beyond the debate of pro-choice vs. pro-life. Oftentimes, white women are centered in the conversation around reproductive healthcare, when Black and Brown people are impacted the most. I think it’s important that we focus on the people that will be directly impacted if access to choice is stripped away, and how through the journey’s of our progranists, we see how choice is necessary for survival. I think that people on either side of the issue might interpret all three of our characters as only on one side of the abortion debate -- but they will be surprised by how complex Rey, Mercedes, and Denisse actually are." - Maya Cueva, Director and Sound Designer, ON THE DIVIDE

Credits

Maya Cueva

Director and Sound Recordist

Maya is a Latina award-winning director and producer with a background in documentary, radio, and audio producing. Her work has been featured on NPR's “All Things Considered,” “Latino USA,” The Atlantic, Teen Vogue, and National Geographic. Her feature film, ON THE DIVIDE, premiered in the documentary competition at Tribeca Film Festival in 2021. She was also selected to be part of the Tribeca Film Institute/A&E StoryLab in 2020. Her short documentary, THE PROVIDER, premiered at SXSW and was nominated for a student Emmy. Maya’s other film ONLY THE MOON premiered at Full Frame Documentary Festival in 2019 and awarded her a Sundance Ignite Fellowship via the Sundance Film Institute. Maya was a 2019 North Star Fellow part of the Points North Institute, a 2019 Film Independent Documentary Lab fellow, and a fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center. Her most recent short documentary ALE LIBRE was selected to screen at several Oscar qualifying festivals, including Big Sky Documentary Festival, Hot Docs, Aspen Film Festival, and SFFILM. Maya’s feature documentary ON THE DIVIDE will broadcast on POV PBS in Spring 2022.

Leah Galant

Director and Director of Photography

Leah Galant is a Jewish filmmaker and Fulbright Scholar based in New York whose storytelling focuses on unexpected narratives often through the lens of womxn. While at Ithaca College in 2015 she was named one of Variety’s "110 Students to Watch in Film and Media” for her work on THE PROVIDER (SXSW 2016, Student Emmy Award) and BEYOND THE WALL. She was a Sundance Ignite and Jacob Burns Fellow where she created DEATH METAL GRANDMA (SXSW 2018) about a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor Inge Ginsberg who sings death metal which won “Best Documentary” at the American Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival, and is a NY Times Op Doc. Leah is a member of Meerkat Media worker-cooperative film production company in Sunset Park NY. Leah serves as the Director and Director of Photography on her feature debut, ON THE DIVIDE.