Missing in Brooks County
A portrait of a town in Brooks County, Texas that finds itself at the epicentre of a growing humanitarian crisis.
Anyone looking for a family member last heard from in Brooks County will eventually find their way to Eddie Candles, who runs the South Texas Human Rights Center. Eddie’s phone rings constantly with calls from families of those who have gone missing while circumventing the local immigration checkpoint.
One day, the brother and sister-in-law of Homero Roman arrived to see Eddie. Omar and Michelle tell Eddie that from the age of five, Homero lived in Houston with his family, but after a traffic violation at age 27, he was deported. He tried to adjust to life in Mexico, a place he barely remembered, but eventually decided to return. He went missing in Brooks County.
Meanwhile, the family of Juan Maceda shows up at Eddie’s doorstep. Juan grew up in Guerrero, Mexico with his mother. By the time young Juan graduated high school, his future was written: either join the criminal gangs or languish in poverty. Juan decided to join his father in the United States. He paid to join a group that would be smuggled across the border into Texas. He went missing in Brooks County.
Eddie helps the families look for their loved ones by engaging with Border Patrol agent Alex Jara and mounting an extensive search of the private ranches where many bodies are found. Together, they come upon clues to the mystery of what happened to their loved ones and confront the agonising reality of life and death in Brooks County.
'The film examines, sometimes in gruesome detail, the unfortunate migrant disappearances and deaths that have occurred in this eponymous region of Texas, about an hour’s drive from the Mexican border… I’ve watched a lot of documentaries through the years. Among those that make me mad: Blackfish (2013), Strong Island (2017), The Central Park Five (2012), and most of Michael Moore’s output. There are dozens of others, of course, that make me rage out against this or that injustice, discrimination, or inequality. Add Missing in Brooks County, a verité documentary from award-winning co-directors/producers Lisa Molomot and Jeffrey Bemiss…to the list.' - Elias Savada, Film International