Through short videos, the indigenous people of the Senu tribes in Colombia have been interviewing members of their community and capturing stories on food: the traditions, the recipes and the meaning behind what and how they eat. In three different communities, a team of audiovisual trainers has been teaching the Senu how to use cameras, write stories and tell their tales, and 3 documentary videos are the result.
The Nuevos Decimeros (New Storytellers) is a project operated by Juliana Paniagua and Otrocuento, an independent film group who train, investigate and develop audiovisual material. The project is sponsored by the Government's National Audiovisual Plan, whose goal is to bring Colombians closer to audiovisual culture and appreciation through creation.
The documentary made by the people of the indigenous community of La 18th in Zaragoza, Antioquia was based on their interests as a community. In their blog, the trainers explain:
Los de La 18 rastrearon el mito del Yacabó, un pájaro símbolo de creciente y muerte para los indígenas Senú, además narraron la preparación del “Moncholo” uno de los principales alimentos de la comunidad, y de la “Chicha de Masato”, una bebida tradicional.
The people of Puerto Belgica spoke about food starting with the land: from the family plot where food is planted as a indigenous tradition to the conservation of fertile earth as a way to subsist not only physically but also as a culture.
In Puerto Claver, of El Bagre, Antioquia, the community team focused the documentary on the arrival of the first indigenous groups to the area and inquired about how the food traditions. The people speak of the importance of growing their own food including rice, string beans and corn, and how the corn they use is the traditional varieties, not the engineered “federated” corn. They do mention how some traditions are being replaced, including food, construction styles and the traditional doctors who use plants for healing and how they are trying to get their people to continue in the Senu way, not to loose what makes them indigenous people.
In this short photo-video a group illustrates the process by which rice is grown, harvested and prepared to eat in the community of Puerto Belgica :
In Puerto Belgica there was also a lot of community interest, specially among kids and youth, so they separated into many different teams to produce content and the previous video was an example. Following is the behind the scenes footage of the short documentary's production:
The documentaries were shown to the communities, who took the opportunity to share their experiences of the process with other participants, and you can see the pictures here. The documentaries will be touring the city of Medellin, Colombia and will be making their rounds in the national film competitions.