The Audiovisual Universe of Indian Peoples

May 2007 -

Those who believe that the Indians in Latin America still believe that a photo will steal their soul or flee to escape video cameras are wrong. Since the first anthropological and artistic experiments in the 1970s and 1980s, this continent has developed its own film and video production sector.

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An overview of recent productions was shown late in April in Lima, Peru, during the Audiovisual Universe of Indian Peoples, Universo Audiovisual de los Pueblos Indígenas. A selection was shown from the 8th International Indian Film and Video Festival held in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006 and the Premio Anaconda 2006, a biennial award for the best audiovisual production made by a community from the Latin American tropical rain forests. The productions varied from classical documentaries and politically-tinted pamphlets to animated films and fiction.

Many of the productions feature the local languages and their topics are often current issues in the Indian communities, such as emancipation, obtaining political rights, environmental pollution and the loss of biodiversity. At the end of the overview, the winner of the Premio Anaconda was shown: the first fictional film produced by the Indian community Movima from the Bolivian Amazon about their oppression during the hacienda era, the rape of their land and their hope for autonomy in the future.

The most striking aspect of most of the films was the need for communication among the Indian communities and for contact with other Indian communities, groups and institutions throughout the continent. It was for this reason that the 4th International Indian Workshop for Communication and Development was organised in Lima in the same period. During the workshop, emphasis was placed on establishing and maintaining networks, and the need for and especially the pleasure of working with modern communication resources to maintain contact with other Indian communities and individuals in Latin America.