Peace Has No Borders

Escaping one battlefield for another, contemporary soldiers of conscience wage a 10-year fight to avoid deportation and punishment if returned to the U.S. from Canada.

Between 1965-1973, over 50,000 Americans made their way to Canada, refusing to participate in the Vietnam War. Forty years later, Canada has another moral choice – whether to give refuge to U.S. veterans of the Iraq War who crossed the border instead of serving another tour. Caught between two countries, today’s war resisters have the support of the public, but still fight for the political will to allow them to remain in Canada.

  • Deb Ellis
    Ellis co-directed the Academy Award short-listed film, “Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” with Denis Mueller. Their earlier film together includes the underground classic, “The FBI’s War on Black America”. Other films include "UnBidden Voices", "Skin Deep", and a current work-in-progress, "End of Love". In addition to her documentary work, Ellis teaches film at the University of Vermont.
  • Denis Mueller
    Mueller has produced many documentaries throughout the years. “The FBI’s War on Black America”, co-produced and directed with Deb Ellis, became a favorite of the black community and has been broadcast on PBS stations in NYC and SF. Mueller has produced programs about veterans returning from the Vietnam War, including “I Would Never Do That Again”, also aired on PBS stations. His most successful film, also co-produced and directed with Deb Ells, “Howard Zinn: You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train” had a national theatrical release, multiple broadcast contracts, and won numerous awards at festivals around the world. Mueller recently co-directed “Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All” about the maverick Chicago writer who wrote “The Man With the Golden Arm”.
  • Alex Lisman
    Co-Producer and Principal Camera
  • Richard Martinez
    Martinez has worked as a composer, music producer, music director and performer in New York City since his arrival in 1978. He has composed music for the documentaries “The Longoria Affair”, “The Miracle of Spanish Harlem”, “Antonia Pantoja Presente!”, “BLAST!”, “The Last Conquistador”, and “Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train”. He also composed music for the film “Bossa Nova”, and a score for “The Daytrippers”, His music also appears on recordings by Dave Valentin, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Al MacDowell.
  • David Cohen
    Consulting Editor
    Cohen’s editorial credits include “Love and Stuff” (director Judith Helfand), “Deep Run” (executive producer Susan Sarandon), “Holy Land” (director Peter Cohn), “All of Me” (Independent Lens Project 360, director Alexandra Lescaze), “Coming Up Roses” (starring Bernadette Peters, director Lisa Albright) and “The Toe Tactic” (director Emily Hubley). For several years, he was primary editor on “Heat Map” (formally “Cooked”), Judith Helfand's forthcoming feature documentary. He’s currently editing “Love Gilda”, a feature documentary about Gilda Radner.
  • Kimberly Rivera
    Key Cast
    War Resister
  • Michelle Robidoux
    Key Cast
  • Chuck Wiley
    Key Cast
    War Resister
  • Patrick Hart
    Key Cast
    War Resister
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 4 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 30, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    215,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Canada, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HDV and SD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Lake Champlain International Film Festival
    Plattsburgh, NY
    United States
    November 19, 2016
    Champy Award for Regional Filmmaking
  • Vermont International Film Festival
    United States
    October 22, 2016
    Vermont Filmmakers Showcase Audience Favorite
  • Big Muddy Film Festival
    United States
  • CAMRAPenn: Screening Scholarship Media Festival
    Philadelphia, PA
    United States
    February 20, 2017
  • White River Film Festival
    White River Junction
    United States
    June 4, 2017
Distribution Information
  • Indiecan Entertainment
    Country: Canada
Director Biography - Deb Ellis, Denis Mueller

Our films examine significant social and political movements. "Howard Zinn: You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train" (short-listed for an Academy Award) is an overview of social movements of the 20th century through the eyes of activist and historian Howard Zinn. "The FBI’s War on Black America" is a rigorous examination of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO program. An underground classic, the film remains a relevant cautionary tale about the dangers of government surveillance. "Peace Has No Borders" is yet another chapter, reflecting on the impact of social activism and resistance to war.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Philosopher and educator John Dewey argued that the function of art has always been to break through the crust of conventionalized and routine consciousness. Our story follows a relatively obscure story about a war that is no longer in the forefront of public discourse. At the same time, “Peace Has No Borders” is a political thriller that captures an essence of Canada’s Harper years and displays just how difficult fighting the power of governments can be.

Our prior films are important reminders that some people make great sacrifices to talk truth to power and that often they pay a price. “Peace Has No Borders” follows the story of a few contemporary soldiers for peace, revealing both the power and limitations of activism.

When we began working on this film there were several good films being made about the Iraq War and we didn’t want to duplicate those efforts. Instead, we found the beginning of a parallel, but untold, story about Iraq War veterans who crossed the border to Canada seeking asylum, much like their Vietnam era counterparts. “Peace Has No Borders” keeps their story alive for future generations who will face their own decisions in the face of war.