ARIZONA, Texas — Shura: The Trail is Never Paved is a compelling short film documentary that transcends its brief runtime to deliver a poignant and inspiring narrative. Co-written, directed and produced by Kayvon Derak Shanian and David Damian Figueroa, this Oscar qualifying film delves into the life of a remarkable woman whose resilience, determination and love for her fellow man can and does make a difference in the lives of the undocumented, showcasing the profound impact one individual can have on their community and beyond.
The film’s subject, Shura Wallin, who is the co-founder of the humanitarian group the Green Valley/Sahuarita Samaritans, has spent the majority of her life with a handful of volunteers to save lives on the Arizona border. Living about a mile from the Sonoran desert, Shura travels to the border to fill water tanks and patrol migrant trails on both sides of the I-19 corridor offering help to anyone that may cross her path.
Across the Mexican border in Nogales, she works out of the faith-based El Comedor center, serving meals, distributing supplies to people deported from the U.S. and others contemplating the trek north.
The film stays close to its protagonist, offering a glimpse of a day in the life of an advocate who has dedicated the last years of her life to being of service to others. A black belt in Karate, one can see how her years of training have lent a hand in not only the mental fortitude Wallin possesses, but the physical fortitude it takes to trek over hills and valleys to bring supplies to the many migrants crossing the border.
“You have so many songs that are like, ‘I’m so into you’ or ‘Let’s get it on’,” says the 25-year-old. “I don’t recognize that swagger, I’m never going to feel like that,” said Shura.
“I felt that pop music didn’t represent me. And that’s why I made my own.” she added.
The cinematography is a standout feature, capturing the essence of Shura’s story with visually striking compositions captured, quite refreshingly, on an iPhone 13 . Co-directors’ Figueroa and Shanian’s keen eye for detail and the thoughtful use of imagery, contribute to the emotional impact of the film, enhancing the audience’s connection to the narrative. Furthermore, the pacing of the documentary is expertly handled, ensuring that each moment serves a purpose in advancing Shura’s story. The concise runtime and unorthodox camera choice does not compromise the depth of the narrative but rather enhances its accessibility, making it an ideal candidate for the short documentary category at the Oscars.
At its core, “Shura: The Trail is Never Paved” serves as a testament to the power of one person’s dedication to making a difference. Shura’s unwavering commitment to her cause becomes a beacon of hope, illustrating how a single individual can catalyze change and inspire others to join the fight for justice, equality, or whatever cause they hold dear.
Produced in association with Latin Heat
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