Wheeler Opera House to host Colorado premiere of ‘The River and the Wall’

Staff report
'The River and the Wall' will screen at the Wheeler Opera House on Sunday, March 24.
Courtesy photo

The Wheeler Opera House will host the Colorado premiere of the documentary “The River and the Wall” on Sunday, March 24.

The Wheeler announced the screening this week. The screening will follow the documentary’s world premiere at SXSW.

The 100-minute film is directed by Ben Masters and produced by Hillary Pierce. It follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes and canoes.

Masters realizes the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas as the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead. He recruits NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on the two-and-a-half-month journey.

They set out to document the borderlands and explore the potential impacts of a wall on the natural environment, but as the wilderness gives way to the more populated and heavily trafficked Lower Rio Grande Valley, they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters.

“Ben’s film projects have a long history on the Wheeler stage, including a few years back when Ben and one of the mustang horses from ‘Unbranded’ made a surprise appearance on our stage,” Wheeler executive director Gena Buhler said in the announcement. “I have been following this project for a while and knew it was a great fit for the Aspen audience. The journey and tale of ‘The River and the Wall’ is so timely as it looks at the issue of the border wall through an artistic storytelling lens.”

The Wheeler screening will be followed by a talkback with producer Hillary Pierceand Jay Kleberg of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

Tickets are just $20, or $15 for Wheeler Wins members, and are available at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office and


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