The Direction of Cinema and Audiovisual Space (DCEA) is the branch of the Institute of Culture of the Province of Chaco, Argentina, which has as its main goal to promote audiovisual activity all over the province.
In August 2008, the first step towards a very important change was taken: to take audiovisual language to the Qom, Wichí and Moqoit communities, not only through projections, but also through, fundamentally, the production of audiovisual material. In order to achieve that aim, the First Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival was held. During the three days that the festival lasted, films that either were produced by Latin American native peoples, or dealt with their subject matter, were projected in more than 40 communities of the Province.
Likewise, during those days, Milton Guzmán Gironda, who belongs to the Bolivian CEFREC (Film Training and Production Centre), delivered the first module of the Indigenous Film Workshop. The Workshop continued for another three meetings, in February, May and October 2009. From that moment on, work carried out in the native communities was increased, reinforced with the founding of the Indigenous Cinema Department, which belongs to DCEA and is in Juan Chico’s charge. Juan Chico is a historian who is a referent of the Qom community.
Through the Indigenous Cinema Department, films are being projected and documentary recording to collect the testimony of the elderly people from different native communities of Chaco is being made.
The First Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival was of a multi-venue and itinerant nature. During three days, more than 30 films were projected in 43 native communities of the Province. Each projection was in a bilingual teacher’s charge. The teacher also coordinated a follow-up debate.
These films, which either were produced by native peoples, or dealt with their subject matter, were made all over Latin America, from Mexico to the south of Argentina.
This material remains in many communities and is still being watched and debated about by the local people.
The closing conference was delivered in Resistencia. The selected material was projected in a film marathon during the conference. These projections concluded with a round-table discussion about native cinema. Fernando Molnar (the director of ‘Qom’, a ‘Native Peoples’ episode broadcast on the cultural channel ‘Encuentro’), anthropologist Pablo Wright, the Qom historian Juan Chico and the audiovisual producer and CEFREC’s teacher Milton Guzmán Gironda took part in the discussion.
From Wednesday 21st October on, five mobile cinema units will travel around 24 communities of Chaco, where Qom, Wichí and Moqoit peoples live. Films will be projected and a follow-up discussion will be held.
The itinerant festival will be carried out with the support of institutions from the region, such as Endepa, CEREC and the Indigenous Communication Network. Each projection will be in a native referent’s charge, who will coordinate a follow-up debate.
The films were selected by the people responsible for the Indigenous Cinema Department after a due announcement made for that purpose. Films from Bolivia, Nicaragua and Paraguay will be projected, as well as productions which reflect the lives of the Mapuche, Chané, Wichí, Kolla, Mbya and Qom communities in Argentina.
Some communities also received training courses. In Fortín Lavalle and Paraje El Colchón (Qom area), a Photography Workshop will be run by two professionals from Resistencia. In El Sauzalito and Nueva Pompeya (Wichí area), a Workshop on Indigenous Law will be delivered by Doctor Tomás Benedeto and in Colonia Aborigen (Moqoit area), a Radio Workshop will be run by Qom communicator Mónica Charole.
TEAM ONE - QOM AREA
General San Martín, Laguna Pato, Maipú,
TEAM TWO - QOM AREA
Villa Río Bermejito, Fortín Lavalle, Paraje El Colchón.
TEAM THREE - MOQOIT AREA
TEAM FOUR - MOQOIT AREA
San Bernardo, Las Tolderías, Necochea, El Pastoril.
TEAM FIVE – WICHÍ AREA
Fortín Belgrano, Vizcacheral, El Sauzalito, El Sauzal, Misión Nueva Pompeya.
FILM WORKSHOP: CHACO’S FIRST NATIVE FILMS
The ultimate objective is to encourage the access of native peoples from Chaco and the region to the use of audiovisual media, with the aim of defending the right of communication and the creative use of technical resources. For these purposes, from August 2008 on, a film workshop intended for more than 25 young referents from the three ethnic groups is held.
This training process, carried out by Bolivian teachers from CEFREC (Film Training and Production Centre), continued during 2009 with different workshops which have resulted in the development of three scripts which will become the first films produced entirely by natives, a fact without precedent in the region.
As a way of concluding the training stage of the group formed in the First Festival, a Script Laboratory-Workshop was held, in which the group worked on the three stories with the aim of starting the shooting stage in the next months.
The films that are being made have to do with the history of each town. The Qom members decided to tell the story of Chief Meguesoxochi’s life through a fictionalized account. The Moqoit group developed a docu-fiction project in which they show the ancestral relationship between their people and Chaco’s meteorites. The Wichí participants will tell the story of the Wichí town El Pintado through a documentary.
Finally, on Saturday 24th from 2 pm on, a film marathon was carried out at the cinema of the Guido Miranda Cultural Complex, in Resistencia. The films selected for the Festival were projected one after another and the tickets for the marathon were free of charge.
This closing event was organized in order to take the Latin American native peoples’ audiovisual universe to the rest of society and to promote an interchange of ideas and a constructive dialogue between them.
CHRONICLE OF A DAY IN THE SECOND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ FILM FESTIVAL
By Jorge Frías, member of the Indigenous Communication Network (RCI).
When the pick-up truck is parked, the community becomes a turmoil. The children run, hug each other, yell. The older people, more cautious, approach the place to offer their help. The porter hurries to look for the key of the room where the showing will take place. The party is about to start. The thing is that one of the five mobile cinemas with which the DCEA (the Direction of Cinema and Audiovisual Space) carries out the Second Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival has arrived.
When everything is ready to start, Juan Carlos Gómez, referent of the Qom community from General San Martín, welcomes the visitors and the spectators from the community. He explains again what he has already told them by the light of the fire in each one of their homes: they are about to watch films from all over Latin America. Films which reflect the struggles, the quests and the dreams of native communities and peoples from other places...but with the same problems that they have.
So, the projection of the documentaries starts amid the clamour of the children and the absolute silence of the adults. When the first voices are heard, the children become quiet, the adults make themselves comfortable and, all together, as a community, they accept the invitation to enter the world that the film offers them.
Back in the room, the conversation about what has been projected and the similarities with their situations begins. They talk about the parallelism between their problems and the ones they have watched in the world presented in the film, about the need to organize themselves to solve those problems, about how important it is that young people know how to use the new technologies and about the possibility of having their own media once the New Law of Audiovisual Services is passed.
‘We are going to show our situation... We are doing well or badly, but that’s the truth and that’s the situation we are facing not only as natives, but also as people from Chaco.’ That is what it’s said in the introduction of the documentary and the community agrees with that.
Suddenly, only the members of the community are engaged in conversation. The professionals are no longer participating in it. They are not able to do it. The adults and the elderly debate and agree on the need to organize themselves in order to get their own media. If it is a radio station or a television channel, it doesn’t matter. They just want a medium to help them strengthen the community and to enable them to speak their own language. Meanwhile, the projection equipment is assembled.
When the pick-up truck is about to leave, the community, which seemed to be deep in conversation about their own medium, becomes quiet and a spokesman thanks the DCEA team on behalf of everyone.
The journey to other community begins.