Debris Escombros

Mary-Lyn Chambers | USA | 2015 | 15 mins


Debris Escombros Synopsis

We follow Ana, escaping from violence and an exploiting father, during her first two days in a US Border Detention Center. She arrives with nothing but the clothes on her back, her mute and fragile brother, and a treasured family music box. She thought the worst was behind her, but Ana learns that their journey for freedom has just begun.

The story was inspired in 2014 when over 52,000 unaccompanied children arrived in the United States from Central America. Photos of the facilities were leaked causing a public outcry and embarrassment to the Obama administration. It led to Trump’s forced child separation policy that horrified the world. To this day, children are still parentless in US Detention Centers.

About Debris Escombros Filmmaker

Currently based in Auckland, Mary-Lyn Chambers was born in Fiji, raised in Nauru and New Zealand, and worked in Los Angeles, London and Doha. She is known for tackling stories about inequality in the narrative space in mixed languages and cultures.

She is a directing Fellow from the Sony Pictures Television Diverse Directors Program, Film Independent’s Project Involve, and the Alliance of Women Directors Career Advancement Program. She was named the top ten female directors to watch from Diversity in Cannes.

Chambers is currently collaborating with choreographer Merenia Gray, creating a film inspired by Gray’s experience traversing Māori and Pākehā cultures. This project is funded by Creative New Zealand. In 2019/20, Chambers won a $25,000 grant from Film Independent to create a PSA series for Children’s Institute about childhood trauma.

Her award-winning film TIJUANA screened at Slamdance, Bentonville, Hollyshorts, Content London and is being developed into a series.

Chambers’ pilot THE PLURAL OF BLOOD won “Best TV Pilot” at the 2018 Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival and can be seen on Amazon Prime. DEBRIS ESCOMBROS, exploring child refugees in a US Immigration Detention Center, screened in The American Pavilion, Diversity in Cannes, and participated in the United Nations Refugees in Film conference during the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

The film traveled the globe winning several awards including “Best International Short” Film from Manchester Film Festival and “Best Female Director” from Hollyshorts. Chambers is known for hiring women and minorities and is vocal about inclusion and equality.

She spent a decade cutting her teeth in the industry by working on IFCs Independent Spirit Awards, the LA Film Festival, and the Denver Film Festival. Between 2010-2013, she worked in Qatar for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival.

More from the Filmmaker of Debris Escombros

“In 2014, little attention was given to the plight of child refugees arriving in the US without parents. The system of processing asylum seekers is designed for them to fail, and ultimately be returned to their countries and to the threat they were fleeing from. Many die once returned. I wanted to draw attention to their experience to humanize them and hopefully, allow audiences to empathize with them and their struggles.” Mary-Lyn Chambers, Director

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