Filmmaker and photographer Klaus Thymann has directed a documentary-style film for tennis brand Bjorn Borg, showing a tennis match played across the border of US and Mexico. Made despite US Customs and Border Protection denying permission for Klaus to film, Borg Open – Tennis Across Borders was made in conjunction with six Mexican agencies and commissioned by Stockholm advertising agency Round & Round.
It shows aerial footage of the border with a voiceover of phone conversations recorded during the making, including the filmmakers’ apparent legal advisor warning them to be extremely cautious and that “I would expect there’s the prospect of being arrested or prosecuted.”
Then, a guerrilla-style tennis court is quickly set up and two players, Mexican Mariano Argote and American Peter Clemente, start their match. It also includes brief interviews with the players discussing the benefits of more open borders between the countries. Peter says: “I don’t know much about the politics of the world but most of my friends are from Mexico. I train with them, I get better with them, and I wouldn’t be the tennis player I am today without those friends.”
Klaus explains to It’s Nice That: “We looked at many sites and wanted to find something that was logistically possible, first and foremost. But as we investigated, it turned out this was almost impossible, and it was not until I thought of a kind of legal loophole where we did everything from the Mexican side, minus the US player, that it became possible. When we were filming the US Customs and Border Patrol were observing us, but never interfered.”
“Visually there is a yellow line painted on the ground – it is almost like Google Earth in real life. Fredrik Jesefsson from Round & Round came up with a great idea of extending the yellow line from reality into a graphic element and that was a great way of visually showing the border. It really helps guide the viewer, so they can understand the geography.”