Spurred by the rapid disappearance of the world's indigenous peoples and their oral traditions, Phil Borges abandoned his orthodontic practice to pursue his first love, photography. For the past 25 years, he has traveled to the farthest reaches of the globe to meet with persecuted Tibetan monks engaged in nonviolent struggle and embattled tribespeople of the Ecuadorian Amazon who must defend their way of life by any means necessary. Through interviews and portraiture, Borges examines his subjects' valuable beliefs and stories and documents their tribulations with dignity.
He is the founder of Bridges to Understanding, an interactive online classroom that promotes cross-cultural learning between indigenous and American youths. By teaching teenagers how to share stories through digital filmmaking, Borges hopes they'll develop the mental flexibility and cultural sensitivity to understand and appreciate belief systems outside their own. Borges' feature-length documentary, CRAZYWISE, takes a look at America’s mental health care crisis and examines what we could learn from the way different cultures define and treat mental illness.