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A New Mesoamerican Film and Radio Festival Is Spreading the Word About Indigenous Struggles


The Community Film and Radio Festival is dedicated to the expansion of new media that shows the struggles of various indigenous groups for the conservation of their land and the preservation of their culture. Photograph taken from the “El lugar que habitamos” Facebook page and published with permission.

The first-ever Mesoamerican Community Film and Radio Festival kicked off last week, opening under the banner, “El Lugar que Habitamos” (The Place We Live In). In four days, from June 10 to June 14, the festival visited ten communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. Next, the festival travels to Mérida and Chiapas on June 25, for another four days, before heading to Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

The festival's program offers the following summary of what audiences can expect:

Frente a las empresas mineras, petroleras, farmacéuticas, agrotóxicas, eólicas y turísticas; a los proyectos de desarrollo de los organismos financieros internacionales; a los medios masivos de control y a los ejércitos formales e informales con que buscan imponernos su lógica de muerte, comunicadoras y comunicadores que habitamos esta Mesoamérica que resiste celebrando su historia, su cultura y la vida, damos testimonio a través de las miradas reunidas en esta muestra de la brutalidad del despojo y de la opresión, de las luchas incesantes de nuestros pueblos y de la belleza de la esperanza.

In the face of mining, oil, pharmaceutical, agritoxic, wind power, and tourism companies—of international financial organizations’ development projects, of the mass media's control and the official and unofficial armies that seek to impose their death logic on us—we, the communicators who live and resist here in Mesoamerica, celebrating its history, culture, and life, bear witness, through the reflections gathered at this Festival, to the brutal plunder and oppression, the incessant struggles of our peoples, and the beauty of hope.

The festival is being run by Ojo de Agua Comunicación, which specializes in training, producing, and distributing audiovisual media for small communities and indigenous groups. The event opens with a screening of the documentary Huicholes: Lós Últimos Guardianes del Peyote (Huicholes: The Last Guardians of Peyote), a film about the Huichol people's spiritual and political struggles. Earlier this year, it arrived in Europe.

At a press conference, Paola Morales, the festival's coordinator, shared the following:

El festival expondrá el trabajo de radialistas, cineastas y videoastas que dan voz a las situaciones que enfrentan diversas comunidades de América Latina en relación a la defensa del territorio, las mineras, los derechos humanos y la equidad de género.

The festival will expose the work of radio-, film- and, video-makers who are giving a voice to the situations confronting many communities in Latin America: defending their territories, mining, human rights problems, and gender equality.

The festival is bifurcated into radiophonic and audiovisual sections. The former includes a selection of 13 radio programs from various places in Latin America, gathered together into one two-hour program that will be both streamed and available on CD for community and independent radio stations wherever the festival travels:
El lugar que habitamos, es escenario de un sin número de iniciativas comunitarias, negras, indígenas, feministas, de radio. Muchas de ellas conformadas en redes con el compromiso de construir consensos en torno a la defensa de la vida y el territorio.
El lugar que habitamos incluye una muestra representativa de las producciones radiales que se han realizado en muchos rincones de Mesoamérica y el Abya Yala. Pequeños programas de radio que reunidos en una sola programación de dos horas, nos dan cuenta de la diversidad de iniciativas, reflexiones, propuestas y visiones, que se dan como resultado de actitudes de vida que preservan el planeta.

“The Place We Live In” is the scene for innumerable community, black, indigenous, feminist, and radio initiatives, many of which are formed by networks committed to consensus-building around the defense of life and territory.

“The Place We Live In” includes a representative sampling of radio productions that have been produced in many corners of Mesoamerica and Abya Yala. These small radio shows gathered together in one two-hour program make us realize the diversity of initiatives, reflections, proposals, and visions, resulting in life attitudes aimed at preserving the planet.
The  audiovisual section is composed of 17 productions, which have been grouped into four categories. According to the program, these are: Contracorriente (Crosscurrent), which depicts regional examples of recuperation, appropriation, and reemployment, La primera semilla (The First Seed), a celebration of women's viewpoints, Nuevas generaciones (New Generations), a space dedicated to childhood and young people; and Turbulencias (Turmoils), a section that will discuss various situations threatening the preservation of the territory, community, and culture of diverse communities.

The radio festival, as well as pictures from the opening and clips from the documentaries, can be found on the Ojo de Agua Comunicación website.

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