The US-Mexican border rarely is a place where you find joy. But 3 minutes a year, a small gate opens, reuniting families on either side, showing what man-made damage borders can do. Romero & Braas have witnessed and documented that exact moment.
You can watch their video here.
Four years ago, a German and an Austrian moved to Mexico and founded Romero & Braas, a production company. The company’s German co-founder, Paul Romero, never thought he’d end up staying in the Americas. “My co-founder and I worked in the media industry for five years and we felt the demand for content from the other side of the pond. Most production companies were too risk averse to take on the challenge, so we decided to fill the obvious gap in the market and move to Mexico for hands-on reality tv production.”
With just one project in the pipeline before the pair left for Mexico, it was a bold move. “We both thought: If we’re not going to do it now, then when? We finished our first project, a docutainment film about the largest ferris wheel in the world, and that was all it took to get the ball rolling.”
Romero & Braas have had to be inventive to move the money around for their projects to avoid getting stung by high bank fees. “We used regular bank transfers to send money from our German entity, where most of our money comes in, to our Mexican entity, where most of it is spent on productions. We lost so much money in the process, a significant percentage on each transaction. The bigger the production, the more we lost in fees. The biggest problem is the lack of transparency. When I used my bank, I’d always have to calculate the fees myself, checking the real exchange rate and comparing it to the bank’s rate. It’s always a nasty surprise to see how much you just lost on one transfer. And I shouldn’t be the one doing these calculations. It’s both a money issue and a trust issue.”
“We struggled with international money transfer a lot. I wasn’t even aware there was another option until I read about TransferWise on a blog. The Borderless account has helped us by being a hub for our production budgets: it allows us to receive money into it from our Mexican, American and German clients and pay out our providers at a low cost, using a local transfer. It’s made moving our funds around transparent, faster and cheaper and allowed us to bring stories like ‘3 Minutes’ to life.”
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