As a nation of immigrants, what is our responsibility to the thousands of forcibly displaced children women and men on our southern border?
Robert Bilheimer is the director, writer, and producer for Worldwide Documentaries, Inc, a not-for-profit film production company he founded in 1989 with his partner, longtime colleague, and senior producer Heidi Ostertag.
Robert has directed critically acclaimed films for over 30 years that focus – although not exclusively – on global human rights and social justice issues. In 1989, Robert was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary for Cry of Reason, a feature-length film that profiles the South African anti-apartheid leader Dr. Beyers Naudé. Over the past fifteen years, two of Robert’s films– A Closer Walk, about the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, and Not My Life, about global human trafficking – have been seen by hundreds of millions of people across a broad set of global demographics, platforms, and networks, and remain the “go-to” films on their respective issues to this day. In 2019, he received the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice for his film Not My Life.
Robert’s latest film, Oh Mercy-Searching for Hope in the Promised Land was released in February 2021. Oh Mercy is a documentary film about the thousands of refugees and asylum seekers from Central America who awaited court dates and immigration hearings in the US under the policy of Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) or “Remain in Mexico”—many for well over a year. Increasingly desperate and discouraged, they huddled in squalid camps and detention centers on both sides of the Rio Grande, which for several hundred miles serves as a natural border between Mexico and the United States.
At 77, and a doting grandfather, Robert feels as though he is “just getting started”. He is now working on a follow up film to Oh Mercy as part of Running To Stand Still, a series of films about global forced migration, with all the passion and vigor that have characterized his work for three decades.