doctor with mask and gloves walking through brush

A portrait of a medical examiner’s office in South Texas that works to identify people who die while trying to cross the US-Mexico border. 


by UnionDocs

  • $15,000.00

  • $2,880.00

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Our documentary ‘Our Home Is Not Of This World’ is a portrait of a medical examiner’s office in South Texas that works to identify people who die while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Dr. Corrine Stern has been doing this vital work for more than 20 years and is now planning to retire, but the county government can’t seem to find anyone willing to replace her. Her departure is made more fraught by an unprecedented influx of new cases, as more people die trying to cross the border than at any time in history.


We are raising funds to finish shooting and to begin the editing process. We have shot over 150 hours of footage over the past 2.5 years with support from the Catapult Film Fund and Jewish Story Partners, in addition to our own personal funds. We participated in the UnionDocs Summer Lab in 2022, and have since established a fiscal sponsorship arrangement with UnionDocs, which means that your contributions at this critical moment are tax deductible.

We will begin working with the acclaimed Mexican editor Lucrecia Gutierrez in early 2024 and are planning some targeted shoots to complete principle photography. Your money will go directly towards those efforts, as we continue to seek completion funding from institutions, companies and individuals alike.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or want to get involved: [email protected]

A tax-deductible receipt will be issued for your donation.
If you prefer to mail a check, please make it out to “UNIONDOCS” with “OUR HOME IS NOT OF THIS WORLD” in the memo line.  
The address is:
352 Onderdonk Ave.
Ridgewood NY, 11385


Through humanistic, verite observation, ‘Our Home Is Not Of This World’ follows the work of Dr. Stern and her team as they recover bodies, conduct forensic investigations and autopsies, interact with other agencies and institutions, contact families and ultimately facilitate the repatriation of remains. The film reflects the function and importance of the medical examiner’s office as a public institution, as well as the fragility of its continued existence. It is also a meditation on the border itself and a requiem for the countless number of people who perish while trying to enter the United States.

John Doe grave markers

When Dr. Stern isn’t able to positively identify her patients they are buried anonymously in the pauper’s section of Laredo’s municipal cemetery.

Dr. Stern usually categorizes the deaths of the migrants she cares for as “accidental” on their death certificates. As she often says, accidents are, by definition, preventable. A hand-written sign hangs over the door to the office that Dr. Stern took from the make-shift morgue she helped set up in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. It says, “Mortui vivis praecipiant.” Let the dead teach the living.


Russ Finkelstein | Director  

Russ Finkelstein was born and raised in San Diego, California. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, he lived and worked in South America for more than 8 years, producing a number of documentaries for Al Jazeera English on a range of social and political issues in Argentina and Colombia. He’s since worked as a producer for NBC, CBS, Vice News, Fusion Network and CNN. In 2018, his first feature length documentary, Looking for Love, premiered at the American Documentary Film Festival. Russ currently works as a producer for CNN.



Phil Pinto | Producer  

Phil Pinto is a Director and Producer living and working in New York. As a Producer, his most recent documentary, Lakota Nation vs. United States (Dir. Jesse Short Bull & Laura Tomaselli), premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and was released by IFC Films in the summer of 2023. A New York Times Critic’s Pick, it was the recipient of a fellowship from the Sundance Documentary Fund and has been nominated for two Critics Choice Awards. Previously, he served as Co-Producer on the acclaimed MLK/FBI (Dir. Sam Pollard, 2020), which received the Critics Choice Award for Best Historical Documentary as well as IDA Award and Cinema Eye Award nominations. It was also included in the 2021 Oscar shortlist. His films have been screened at Telluride, Toronto, Tribeca, SXSW, DOCNYC, and the New York Film Festival, amongst others.



Manuel F Contreras | Producer

Manuel F Contreras was born in Bogota, Colombia. He and Russ made 3 commissioned, half-hour films for Al Jazeera’s Witness there and in Argentina. Manuel has directed two feature length films: Boys of Buenaventura (2016) and The Living And The Dead (2021). He is an alumnus of the DocNomads Joint Masters Degree and the DLA program of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts. Now based in Budapest, he works as a university film lecturer and head of programming of the Budapest International Film Festival.


black and white headshot

Lucrecia Gutiérrez Maupomé | Editor

Lucrecia Gutiérrez Maupomé was born in Mexico City. She has edited 19 documentary features, including The Echo (Tatiana Huezo, 2023), The One Amongst the Shadows (Sandra Luz López Barroso, 2020) and the award-winning Tempestad (Tatiana Huezo, 2017) which premiered in the 66th Berlinale Forum and was selected by the Mexican Academy to represent Mexico in the Academy Awards.  She teaches at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico City as well as the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV en San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba; and has taught at workshops in Chiapas, Yucatán, Campeche, Oaxaca, Puebla y Querétaro. 



Name Donate Amount Date
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vanessa black $50.00 December 28, 2023
Alex Pasternak $40.00 December 27, 2023
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Mary and David Pasternak $100.00 December 11, 2023
Caterina Clerici $350.00 December 13, 2023
Nic Stone $200.00 December 13, 2023
Jake Heller $100.00 December 05, 2023
Benjamin Teitelbaum $100.00 December 03, 2023
David Koplewicz $200.00 December 02, 2023
Joaquin Mancera $20.00 December 02, 2023
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Sam Sundos $100.00 December 01, 2023
randi finkelstein $200.00 December 01, 2023
Chelsea Devantez $100.00 December 01, 2023
Frank Traynor $50.00 November 29, 2023
Phil Merkow $50.00 November 28, 2023
Jamie Finkelstein $250.00 November 28, 2023
Milos Balac $100.00 November 28, 2023
Karen Gaytan $50.00 November 27, 2023
Antonio Campos $250.00 November 27, 2023
Antonio Campos $5.00 November 27, 2023
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James Enright $75.00 November 27, 2023