ttle Theater-Latin American Film Festival
Rochester, NY
Monday, March 15 • 6:30 PM

Benefit for Rural & Migrant Ministry


• General Description

• Trailers
• Features of the DVDs
• Downloadable Study Guide
• Purchase
• Details of contents

Broken Branches, Fallen Fruit / Ramas rotas, frutas caídas

Subtitles in English (also in Spanish for 3 of the documentaries)

Produced and directed by Bill Jungels

What does immigration look like from the other side, way on the other side? From the point of view of a Tzotzil speaking family in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost, most indigenous and poorest state?

Two short documentaries and a series of "Extensions", historical or analytic mini-documentaries, try to find out; primarily through multivalent views within the family: young and old, male and female, traditional and mestizized, those struggling for autonomy and those not.

The "Extensions" bring in yet other views: anthropologists, historians, researchers and activists (including Jon & Diane Rus, Tom Hansen, Christine Eber, Maria del Carmen García and Gustavo Castro) look at the broader political and economic factors - NAFTA, Mexico's switch to a neo-liberal economic and agricultural policy, population, the history of exploitation of indigenous labor. And always as a backdrop, the struggle for dignity and autonomy.

Released May, 2009, watch for festival showings

Appropriate for Anthropology, Political Science, Latino Studies,
Native American Studies, Spanish, Latin American Studies,
Economics, Border and Immigration Studies


Features of the DVD

  • 2 disc set (total running time 124 minutes)
  • 2 short documentaries (31 & 16 mins.) Descriptions below.
  • 7 "Extension" mini-documentaries (Average 10 mins.)
  • downloadable study guide/bibliography
  • All Spanish and Tzotzil subtitled in English
  • primary documentaries and "Cafe" also subtitled in Spanish.

Download Study Guide for Broken Branches

Acrobat Reader Required


50% of profits go to fund community projects among
the Tzotzil people that participate in this documentary

*Immigrant advocacy and aid groups contact us for special price.

      A Journal on Capitalism and Socialism

A Short Description of
Contents of the Two Discs

Disc One

Broken Branches, Fallen Fruit (31 minutes)

This is the centerpiece of the project. Two generations speak and act out their complex and contrasting attitudes towards immigration. The setting is highland Chiapas in southern Mexico, the people are Tzotzil and Spanish speaking Mayans who are trying to preserve their dignity and traditions, and many of whom are struggling to carry on outside of the long standing government instruments of control and manipulation. They relate the issue of immigration to poverty, unemployment, lack of land, population and alcoholism. But the youth often see opportunity that is entirely absent in their towns and villages. The result is families in tension

EPILOGUE: Alberto tries to cross (8 Minutes): One of the young men from "Broken Branches" describes his attempt to cross and his treatment by "la Migra". He contrasts the welcome Americans receive in Chiapas with the harsh treatment he received by U.S. immigration.

EXTENSION 1: Mexican Coffee (12 minutes): Anthropologists, historians and activists analyze the effects that President Salinas' breaking up of the coffee agreement and the World Bank's financing of large coffee plantations in Southeast Asia had on small coffee growers like those in highland Chiapas. Feature Jan Rus and Tom Hansen.

EXTENSION 2: Tsobal Antsitik, A Woman's Weaving Co-operative (5 Minutes) The weaving co-operative as an alternate economic structure where Tzotzil women can come together and preserve their craft traditions while helping to support their families and building international links for more just compensation for their work. Features Christine Eber and a leader of the co-op.

EXTENSION 3: Maya Vinik, a Coffee Cooperative (11 Minutes): Recounts the struggle to create a coffee cooperative in Acteal, after the massacre there in 1997, and to find fair trade outlets for the organically grown coffee of its members. Features the President of Maya Vinic and Cristóbal Arias.

EXTENSION 4: An Acteal Testimony (12 minutes): Cristóbal, a Word of God catechist and a member of the Abejas, tells the story of the massacre of 45 members of the pacifist Abejas in Acteal on December 22nd, 1997 by government allied paramilitaries. Cristóbal went to Acteal the day after the massacre and spent 3 days there consoling the survivors.

Disc Two

A Portrait of Juan (16 minutes)

Juan Lopez, a Tzotzil Mayan man with ejidal land in Chenalhó, tells of his going to the U.S. in order to survive, the struggle to stay alive crossing the desert in August, the difficulty of finding work, the heavy debts to coyotes, and his return with just enough saved to plant coffee and seed his land and start a new life on his land. His wife and children speak of their desperation while he was gone.

EXTENSION 5: Corn and "Free Trade" (8 minutes): Scholars and activists analyze the effects of NAFTA, U.S. corn subsidies and Mexican agricultural policy on small Mexican farmers who grew corn as a cash crop as well as a subsistence strategy. Feature Jan Rus and Tom Hansen.

EXTENSION 6: Remittances and the New Indigenous Elite (12 minutes): How families use money sent home or saved and how those who profit from migrants are forming part of a new elite. Featuring Jon and Diane Rus, Maria del Carmen García Aguilar and Gustavo Castro.

EXTENSION 7: Nogales - Impoundment of Dreams (10 minutes): Undocumented immigrants, deported by I.C.E. after brutal desert crossings or years working in the U.S., talk about their treatment and the dim prospects that now await them in their home cities, towns and villages.


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