As our media flood us with images that portray Mexico as a state ravished by violence and corruption, we tend to lose sight of the many communities within the country that fight daily for a peaceful and respectful coexistence. While these stories might not sell as much as drug violence and state brutality, we may perhaps profit from learning that it is still possible for individuals to organise themselves in communities which are both responsible and lively, closely knitted yet inclusive to others.
In the documentary People of earth and clouds, the filmmakers sketch a different image of Mexico. Next to the brutal violence of drug barons and the state, the country is also home to communities of which respect, inclusion and peaceful coexistence are the building blocks. With the production of this documentary, we aimed at representing a different reality of Mexico, which is not as often portrayed in the media.
People of Earth and Clouds takes inspiration from the indigenous life styles and social organization of the communities in the Sierra Juarez, Oaxaca, which have, though securing their strong communal as well as inter-communal cohesion, managed to keep violence and drug trafficking out of their villages.
The film focuses on the wind band traditions characteristic to the Sierra Juarez, which form an essential part of the cultural life of the Zapoteco, Mixe and Chinanteco indigenous groups. More specifically, it centres on the wind bands of the Zapoteco region and explores its role in the sustenance of peaceful communities in the region.
For more information visit our official website People of Earth and Clouds
Why fund it?
We are a group of Belgian and Mexican students, studying film, anthropology and philosophy. We believe that making a documentary is an effective way to engage and raise awareness among Mexican society and others. This documentary gives voice to local initiatives that, in the unstable political and social climate, have managed to maintain peace and have had an important social impact for local communities.
With this documentary, we therefore aim to take inspiration from indigenous worldviews and show the effectiveness of communal projects in the prevention of violence. Moreover, our goal is to inspire new ways of thinking about community building and creative education in other social groups, especially in the big cities of Mexico.
Generally, in Mexican society, indigenous ways of living are considered to be traditional, underdeveloped, backward and static. People of Earth and Clouds was a project that started with the aim of re-dignifying the profound knowledge that peoples of the Sierra Juarez possess to preserve life and nature. Moreover, the project started off, based on the preoccupation of the filmmakers for the wide gap that exists between the urban and rural population in Mexico.
The two social groups almost never interact and know near to nothing of one another’s life styles and culture. This results in a great amount of prejudices and incomprehension amongst Mexico’s population, which results in the exclusion and underestimation of Mexico’s indigenous populations and the loss of indigenous languages and cultures. People of Earth and Clouds is an attempt to narrow this gap hat exists among Mexican society and to encourage comprehension within it.
At what stage is the documentary?
The documentary is currently at a first stage of postproduction. The general narrative structure is in place, but we need better equipment to cut the length of it down to an hour of running time, as well as finalize the sound and visual editing. Moreover, we endeavor to work with a professional sound editor. In this way we believe that our documentary will gain a lot in quality and we will therefore be able to reach a wider audience.
Secondly, a minor part of the fund will be used to cover the distribution expenses of the documentary, under which, to cover fees of film festivals.
Our main priority at this point is to reach 3,000 euro, which will make it possible for us to finish off the documentary professionally, and to start a social media campaign which will enable us to distribute the film independently through social media and apply to Film Festivals in different places of the world for the summer of 2016.
€2,000 - Cover expenses of basic post production process. Rental of post-production equipment and professional help with sound editing.
€500 - Paying internet fees to upload the full documentary and freely distribute it.
€500 – Application fees for submissions to film festivals
What happens if we exceed our goal?
In case the donation exceeds our initial goal, all the extra money will be used to facilitate the postproduction process and to get more professional help with it. Moreover, this extra fund would be used to bring back the project to the people of Oaxaca who inspired this documentary in the first place. This would only imply minor costs for travel from Mexico City to Oaxaca.
What happens if the goal is not reached?
In case we don't reach our goal all the money will be returned to the donors. Nevertheless, if we are not able to reach the goal, it will become much more difficult to finish off the documentary and to make it public, which is the most important part of this project.