Families Separated By US Border Filmed In Powerful 3-Minute Hug Documentary

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 13 Oct 2019 15:14
Families Separated By US Border Filmed In Powerful 3 Minute Hug DocumentaryNetflix

Netflix has shared the powerful trailer for a new documentary titled A 3 Minute Hug, showing the reunion of families who have been separated at the US and Mexican border.

Though several documentaries have emerged recently aiming to highlight the struggles and conflicts that occur at the border, Netflix’s new documentary shines a light on the reunion of families, giving a human perspective to a highly political issue.


The documentary captures the brief moments families are reunited at the US-Mexico border after weeks, months, even years apart, before being separated once again for an unknown amount of time.

You can watch it here:


Netflix describes the documentary, as per Rolling Stone, as:


On May 12, 2018, the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was opened temporarily for a breathlessly awaited reunion.

On a barren embankment along the Rio Bravo, family members who had been denied asylum, deported, or separated for more than 10 years were allowed to meet at the border for a precious few minutes.

Organised by the Border Network for Human Rights, the Hugs Not Walls reunification event gave over 300 separated families the opportunity to connect — to embrace, kiss, and lovingly admonish each other as only families can.

As the trailer shows, the emotional reunions between families and people of all ages are captured, before authorities at the border repeatedly call out ‘Time’s up’.

Families Separated By US Border Filmed In Powerful 3 Minute Hug DocumentaryNetflix

The documentary was directed by Mexican filmmaker Everardo González. It focuses on the Hugs Not Walls event, by advocacy group Border Network for Humans Rights (BNHR), which took place in May 2018.


On the day, families who had been separated across the border due to deportation, among other reasons, could reunite and embrace their family for just three minutes.

González recruited four different film crews, as Remezcla points out, to the film the event – two on each side of the border. Just like the families and people there, the film crews could also not cross the border except for the three-minute window.

Speaking at Los Cabos International Film Festival last year, González said: ‘In three minutes you can’t say much. You give a blessing. You give a hug. You give a kiss. And you cry.’

Families Separated By US Border Filmed In Powerful 3 Minute Hug DocumentaryNetflix

When asked whether he thought allowing families to be reunited for just three minutes was cruel, the director said:

I don’t think it’s cruel. It strikes me more as a very complex political decision made by both governments — the border patrol was guarding the entire thing. It’s a unique event centred on solidarity with border migration. What’s cruel is that such solidarity is not permanent. What’s cruel is the political landscape that keeps families divided this way.

Rather than interviewing people or using dialogue and voiceovers, González lets the powerful imagery of the film speak for itself.

A 3 Minute Hug premieres on Netflix on October 28.


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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Film and TV, America, border, Documentary, Families, Mexico, Netflix, Trailer, Trump


Rolling Stone and 1 other
  1. Rolling Stone

    See Families Separated by U.S. Border Reunite in Powerful ‘3 Minute Hug’ Trailer

  2. Remezcla

    In This Emotional Short Doc, Families Divided by the Border Get 3 Minutes to Hug