A semi-fictional documentary with animation on indigenous Kuna cosmology and ecosystems, played and reinterpreted by the Kuna children.


The project

The Project


The Kuna in Panama is a strong indigenous community, however global forces of market economy threaten their livelihood, environment and culture. As a result of outside influences, the youth are no longer interested in their own heritage. In order to revive their legends and move toward the restoration of their ecosystems, we will shoot a participative documentary of a Kuna myth. We inspire ourselves on the tale about the hero Masardummi who discovers the importance and functioning of the spiritual world, in the depth of mother earth. The tale will be adapted within a contemporary context, where children will enact key characters, and animation will be used to illustrate more mysterious scenes. We are working with the support of National Geographic.




The Goal


The goal is to integrate modernity with the old legends. The hope is that having the children participate will renew their interest in their culture, nature and origins, so that they may become more aware of their environment and be compelled to find ways to preserve it. Ultimately, the aim is to promote cultural diversity and to raise awareness of global issues and their influence on a local scale.




The Synopsis


The story begins on the island with the usual Kuna daily life, the indigenous romantic image is replaced by one of a modernized community where western technology and products are overly presents and the surroundings are polluted.A child receives a phone call, he is contacted by a spirit in the form of a wooden figure; nuchu. The nuchu takes him on a spiritual journey in Mother Earth’s guts, and he discovers the creation of earth according to Kuna oral tradition. As the child goes deeper, he voyages in many worlds where he meets trees, animals and other creatures who explain to him the necessity to preserve nature. When he returns to his island he must combat the Kuna who wish to continue their destructive and comfortable lifestyle. This fight is a metaphor of the clashing values in the Kuna community between tradition and modernity.


We invite you to visit our website for more information about the project, the team and the Kuna.

You can also follow us on Facebook to get juicy updates of our adventure!!

To visualize previous animations of Lara and Julia visit their vimeo page





We are heading to the Northeastern coast of Panama in the Caribbean Sea. The Kuna territory is on the coastland and archipelago of hundreds of islands. We are going to Rio Tigre, accessible by plane or by an hour-boat-ride, after driving for hours through the tropical forest.







In May and June 2014 we are going to film the documentary, we are expecting to finish the film by mid-October 2014. It will be available in Kuna and Spanish with English and French subtitles.


Schedule & Collaborative Approach


We will collaborate with the community to prepare and modify scenes. We will merely put a structure in which children will have the freedom to act as themselves. Finally, we will establish a workshop for children to build their kite, which will represent the soul of their animal in the spiritual voyage. Lastly, the final battle scene will be a beautiful spectacle mixing traditional dance and singing. 


We prepared several field activities for children 


1.Transmission and drawing workshop: may 16th to 17th

After listening to a Kuna myth of the spiritual world, children will draw their favorite part and interpret it their own way. The goal is to reconnect  the children with their legends, and it will enable the animators to understand better their perspective.


2. Kites workshop: may 18th to 24th

Children will create their own kite, which will represent an animal of their choice from the Kuna ecosystem. Lara Vallance and Julia Borderie will lead the workshop.




3. Preparation and rehearsing may 15th to 24th

To prepare the film, we will work with the children and select those who are more at ease to be main characters. Together we will work on scenes and readapt them to what suits better to each child and according to Kuna’s approval.


4. Filming : may 25th to june 13th

Once the children and the community are accustomed to our presence and feel comfortable in front of the camera we will shoot the film, mostly in the last week.


5.The Post-Production: Summer and Fall 2014

During the summer Chloe will begin to edit the documentary partly in Panama with Agathe Champsaur and Luis Franco Brantley . She will continue editing in Montreal, while Lara Vallance and Julia Borderie will draw the animations. By fall we hope to be done editing and start subtitling in Spanish, English and French since the documentary will be in Kuna.



*We expect to be done by October 15th and we will send you the rewards before the end of November*






Why fund it?

National Geographic’s grant covers our accommodation for the filming crew in Panama and in Rio Tigre, it also covers all the food, the filming equipment and workshop equipment. However we need further support to cover our traveling cost.


We pledge for 4000 euros

If we go beyond this amount this will enable us to have more freedom on the field with more equipment and to fund our post-production to get additional professional support for even better quality.


• Travel to Rio Tigre from Panama (everyone): 1016 €

 (We will fly to Corazon de Jesus then take a boat to Rio Tigre; each trip is 127 euros)

• Flight Marseille – Panama – Montreal (Chloe Saint-Denis): 852 €.

• Flight Montreal – Panama – Montreal (Julia Borderie & Lara Vallance): 

• Flight Marseille – Panama – Marseille (Agathe Champsaur):  871 €

• Cost of sending gifts 300 €.



équipe kuna

Chloë Saint-Denis is French-American and in 2010 she graduated McGill University in Geography B.A. She started investing herself in filmmaking since her experience in Panama where she interned to make a documentary on the Biomuseum. She returned to Montreal where she gained further experience in an independent production company Parabola Films. Lara... See more

FAQ Questions about the project

+ In what language will the documentary be?

It will be in Kuna with subtitles in Spanish, English and French

+ Do you make earnings with the documentary

No, all the money will contribute solely for the documentary production. We would like to diffuse the documentary in as many platforms as possible, but for the moment we have nothing finalized concerning that.

+ Where will the documentary be diffused?

It will be available online on National Geographic's website

Newest comments

Bravo et bon shooting!
Bravo pour votre engagement !
Super projet, je suis admirative! Bon courage!!