New Documentary Coming Soon!

Read what political scientists, historians, religious leaders, migrants, and others have had to say about The Second Cooler.

“It’s always a sign that a documentary is great on many levels when I weep at the end, as I did at Ellin Jimmerson’s The Second Cooler. Also, my deepest condolences about her daughter—that made the ending hit even more profoundly. I couldn’t help to think throughout The Second Cooler that many of the stories that she depicted are very similar to the stories being presented now as if they just started happening. Vivid harrowing stories, the types of stories that need to be told. I also appreciated that she went deeply into NAFTA. It is clear that it is much more than “free trade agreement” and more the imposition of an economic model that has caused utter devastation in Mexico as its brother CAFTA is doing in Central America. So few reports on the border make those connections to the root causes, and by learning the impacts of U.S. foreign policy (in this case in the economic realm) we can begin to understand other critical dimensions of the border. And that is the beauty of The Second Cooler—the border extends from Oaxaca to Alabama and beyond. I felt that very core understanding throughout. In that sense, too, I loved how she expertly tackled the “migrants will only do work that Americans won’t do” cliche via the on-the-ground and union perspective from Alabama–that ultimately called for a united, rather than divided, front. The Second Cooler is a brilliant documentary with on the ground interviews with people who bared their soul, eliciting not only strong waves of compassion and empathy, but also a diverse and multi-faceted analysis that didn’t shy away from big theories and ideas such as global apartheid. Thank you.”— Todd Miller, Author, Storming The Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security, Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches From the Frontlines of Homeland Security, and Empire of Borders: How the US is Exporting Its Borders Around the World.

Ellin Jimmerson’s The Second Cooler is one of the most important social and political films of our times. This compelling documentary exposes the tragic consequences of US immigration policy and US economic policy for the residents of Mexico and Central America seeking a better life with the odds stacked against them. A moving documentary, it is both informative and, at times, infuriating. Anyone who wishes to understand the issue of illegal immigration needs to view ‘The Second Cooler.’ Highly recommended.”

Keith Brekhus, sociologist, activist, political writer, and co-host, the Liberal Fix radio show.

My wife and I watched the Second Cooler last night. We were blown away! We were horrified, deeply disturbed and broken hearted to see the systemic problems that have been purposely perpetrated upon Central America by the United States. I am embarrassed to say there was a good bit in the film I did not know. There were also many, many puzzle pieces that fell into place as [Ellin Jimmerson] connected the dots throughout the film. 

This is a very important film. As a woman of at least average intelligence, being unaware of so much in the film, I cannot help but think others who care deeply are unaware also. I see this film as a plumb line of sorts for individuals to see, recognize, and accept our part and responsibility in not only this atrocity, but in its solution. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”—Darla O, Baton Rouge, LA 


After I watched The Second Cooler, I could barely move. Profound. Dr. Alice Hunt, President, Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, USA

I find ‘The Second Cooler,’ the documentary on Latin American immigration to the United States produced and directed by the Rev. Dr. Ellin Jimmerson, to be excellent in every respect. It provides an expansive, critical account of the causes, trajectories, and consequences of this migration against the background of United States-Latin American relations over time. From beginning to end, it is keenly well-informed, well-presented, and well-argued. It is a must for any serious understanding of this growing crisis and a marvelous tool for learning and discussion in any academic context. It receives, I am delighted to say, my highest recommendation.”

Prof. Dr. Fernando F. Segovia, Oberlin Graduate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, The Divinity School, The Graduate Department of Religion, The Center for Latin American Studies, Vanderbilt University 

The Second Cooler is a powerful and moving analysis of the connections between recent global economic trends and immigration. Through the lives and deaths of poor Latin Americans, Ellin Jimmerson weaves a persuasive argument about “free trade”, migration, and contemporary politics in the U.S.  It is a must see.”

Marshall C. Eakin, Professor of History, Vanderbilt University

 This important documentary connects the dots between immigration and trade policy. I highly recommend it.”

State Senator Chip Shields, D., Portland, Oregon

This documentary is truly a visual and political tour de force. It brought me to tears, reminding me that our U.S.A. government has both caused and vilified the migration of our Mexican and Central American neighbors from the South. I now know that ‘the wall’ is built where it is easiest to cross, directly causing thousands of deaths, just because people seek to feed their families as their traditional way of life has been robbed from them by NAFTA. The producer, Ellin Jimmerson, has created a masterpiece of elucidation as she weaves history, interviews with ordinary and official people, with music, art and, sculpture.”

Rev. Dr. Glen Thamert, Member, The Sanctuary Movement

The Second Cooler is amazing. Ellin Jimmerson’s work is particularly poignant today as ‘another Alabama’ continues to gain momentum here in Arizona. The hatred behind the violent acts [the shootings of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others on January 8] is every bit about what happened in Alabama. The KKK and the Tea Party are not far apart. Giffords is a conservative Democrat but even so, was enough to bring on the heat of white supremacy and incite violence. This film is more than a documentary. It is important to note the irony between world reaction and compassion regarding the violent deaths of six (white) people in an urban shopping center versus the lack of public outcry and compassion for the hundreds of (brown) migrants killed due to unjust border policies. Why aren’t we paying attention to how these violent acts are connected, and how they share deep roots with white supremacist violence and economic oppression throughout US history? It is a compelling and tragic human drama played out across the world, the tragic loss of life and liberty due to unjust immigration policies and practices. As an educator and faith leader, I am always looking for ways in to the difficult conversation of just immigration policy. ‘The Second Cooler’ draws us into the drama, weaving the history of civil rights together with the US- Mexico-Border reality, art, music, and personal story that moves and transforms those who watch it.”

Rev. Delle McCormick, Former Executive Director, BorderLinks, USA Samaritan volunteer, Tucson, Arizona, USA

The Second Cooler is a great work: rich in detail and history, strong in giving voice to those who might otherwise be voiceless. Ellin is giving us an important view into an America that says more about us than the one we see portrayed in the media everyday.”

David Person Host, WEUPTalk, WEUP_AM Member, Board of Contributors, USA Today, Freelance arts reporter, National Public Radio Huntsville, Alabama, USA

The Second Cooler” is nothing short of magnificent. The blend of art (both musical and visual) and hard empirical reality is jarring and powerful. I never really understood the character and scope of NAFTA’s impact upon the Mexican peasantry until I watched. A lot will stir controversy, not the least “Arizona, the new Alabama.” Ellin Jimmerson’s postscript about her daughter is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.”

Dr. J. David Gillespie, Dana Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, Presbyterian College, Professor of Political Science, The Citadel and The College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Author, “Politics at the Periphery: Third Parties in Two-Party America (1993); “Challengers to Duopoly: Why Third Parties Matter in American Two-Party Politics (2011)

We all need to shout about this film! It is prophetic and can change lives and systems.”

Rev. Howard Williams, Minister of Spiritual Formation, Weatherly Heights Baptist Church, Huntsville, Alabama, USA

I’ve now had a chance to view ‘The Second Cooler’ which I think represents an important contribution to the debate about immigrant labour in the United States, Mexico and Central America. In most countries this debate is coloured by anti-immigrant bias, but this film tackles the issue head-on by proposing cross-border union organizing as an answer.”

Eric Lee,, London, England

The Second Cooler reminds us that simplistic solutions to complex problems like immigration can often have terrible human consequences. The film should be seen by all who wish to understand the human dimensions of undocumented migration.”

Douglas S. Massey, Office of Population Research, Department of Sociology, Princeton University, Director, The Latin American Migration Project and the Center for Migration and Development, President, American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2006-present, Antonio García Cubas Prize, Best Book on Mexican Art, National Institute of Anthropology and History, Mexico City, 2001, for Milagros en la Frontera / Miracles on the Border, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

 I really did not know how bad the problem of immigration was and how it originated. I knew the ex-president of Mexico, Carlos Salinas, was a horrible president, but I did not know exactly why until now. It was really painful to see the number of people who have died since 1997. I did not like to know that even 12 year old girls had died trying to go to the US to find their parents. I had to have breaks while I was proof-reading the documentary because the facts and numbers were really hurtful. I see now that these people going to the US only want to take care of their families and our government [i.e., of Mexico] has not only failed them but has ruined their lives. My favorite part of the documentary was when a woman said that she would love to see our president [Felipe Calderon] trying to cross the border. I, too, think that would be a good idea.”

Olivia M. Gutiérrez, Mérida, Cancún, México

The Second Cooler will mess up your mind, open your eyes, and break your heart. Every person of faith will find this documentary hard to dismiss or forget.”

J. Wayne Flynt, Historian Professor Emeritus, Auburn University. Author and co-author of 11 books. His Poor But Proud: Alabama’s Poor Whites (1990) and Alabama: A History of a Deep South State, were nominated for Pulitzer Prizes. Editor-in-Chief, online Encyclopedia of Alabama. Co-founder, Alabama Poverty Project and Sowing Seeds of Hope (Perry County). Flynt’s research focuses on Southern culture, Alabama politics, Southern religion, education reform, and poverty.

I thought the Alliance of Baptists was a leading voice in speaking out for justice for illegal immigrants until I met Ellin Jimmerson and was informed by her compelling work and message. Thank you Ellin and all who have contributed for giving voice to the voiceless and magnifying the unjust policies giving rise to the loss of lives along the Mexico border. May we, as people of faith, no longer turn a deaf ear to the cries of our neighbors as they struggle for hope.”

Paula Clayton Dempsey, Minister for Partnership Relations, Alliance of Baptists

I’ve been trying to think of what to tell you about your movie, but I feel that just telling what I enjoyed about it would be best. I liked how it informed us basically what NAFTA was and the effects it had on Mexican farmers. The parts that described the difficulty of the journey to the border was very eye opening. The mother that lost her 1 year old child was just heartbreaking. The fact that your film also showed the viewpoints of groups and individuals who are anti-immigrants was well done. The part that just blew me away was the list of the girls who died while attempting to cross. Their ages and names just made me remember how close I was to ending up on a list like that. So I really want to just thank you for everything that you’ve done, the work and dedication that you’re showing, and simply for still continuing what you’re doing. I’m glad to have met you and glad to have been able to see this film.”

Jose Cuicahua-Perez, Dreamer, Pelham, AL, USA

Simply put, The Second Cooler is a perfectly woven tapestry of heartbreak, epiphanies, and realities that not many are willing to speak of but that people desperately need to bring to light. As an undocumented immigrant, I have heard many other immigrants tell me how they ‘forgot’ the crossing or that ‘it’s been too long’ for them to remember. I was 6 years old when I crossed the border, and I have not forgotten a single second of that point in my life, nor will I ever let myself forget. To forget such a time in my life would be treason to the sacrifices that were made on my family’s part to bring me to this country. With that said, the second cooler captures the stories of other immigrants who were and are in the same situation I was, as well as raise a question not many ask- why do we come? While this question is rare, the following is even rarer: what caused us to leave and who brought us into that situation? what happens to those who fail in their attempt to come to the US?This film tries and succeeds in dissecting these questions. Most importantly, The Second Cooler goes where few other films go by presenting the reality exactly as is, no filters presented, required, or encouraged.”

Victor Palafox, Undocumented, Alabama, USA

The theatre yesterday became sacred space for me.  The movie is so powerful, so disturbing, and so well done.  It was also very moving.  Now we just need to rise up!  Ellin Jimmerson has done a wonderful thing by educating many of us to the history of this whole sorry mess.”

Pat H., Fayetteville, Tennessee, USA

So grateful today for the work of Ellin Jimmerson and her new movie The Second Cooler. Ellin, herself a child of the Civil Rights movement in Albany, Georgia, tells a compelling story about the impact of NAFTA on poor, blue collar workers in Alabama and on undocumented migration by poor latinos. Her documentary shows how “free trade” across North America has contributed to joblessness and suffering, and how the militarization of the US/Mexico border has not been able to solve a problem that economics have created. Writing from the perspective of a prophetic, Baptist, ordained minister, Ellin’s movie is profoundly honest and human, and calls forth a very human – compassionate – response. It is a movie I will not soon forget.”

Stephanie Barger, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

 What a powerful film! I have never felt such sorrow and compassion for a group of people that have been so totally screwed by greed and politics. Sickening!”

Jennifer Sherman, Huntsville, Alabama, USA

I want to thank Ellin for making such a moving and beautiful movie and for living true to her beliefs. On behalf of my family, thank you for all your hard work and congratulations!!!”

Aylene Sepulveda, Huntsville, Alabama, USA

 The Second Cooler is INCREDIBLE. I can’t stop thinking about it. Such a powerful message and so well-constructed. The image of the morgue in the opening of the film is so compelling. And the parallel Ellin Jimmerson makes between civil rights for African Americans and immigrants rights. Wow. I thought I knew something about this topic already but this film opened my eyes.”

Lisa A. Dordal, poet “Commemorations”, Nashville, Tennessee, USA


Kay Campbell, The Huntsville Times

Available Now

Purchase Digital Download
Purchase DVD Hardcopy

The Second Cooler Official Trailer-Vimeo Upload 720p from Ellin Jimmerson on Vimeo.