Hosted by CoDevelopment Canada, these films bring us the voices of Latin American communities as they confront major challenges to their livelihoods, lands, and life itself. Our film festival opens Friday night with Resistencia, a thrilling account of the 2009 military coup in Honduras, and the subsequent resistance movement in the Aguan Valley. On Saturday, The Voice of the Seeds brings us the voices of indigenous farmers in Peru as they discuss their relationship with the seeds that feed us and their views on GMOs. Connected by Coffee takes us on a voyage across Central America as coffee roasters learn about the challenges coffee farmers face. Marmato shows what happens when a Canadian mining company comes to Colombia, and the subsequent struggle of the townspeople as gold mining threatens to displace them from their homes. Finally, in Huicholes culture and environmental activism intersect as we learn how mining interests threaten the traditional way of life of the Huicholes, the guardians of the peyote.
91 min. | 2014 |
FILMMAKER: Jesse Freeston
Friday, March 20 | 7:00 pm | Theatre 5 (A130)
On the morning of 28 June 2009, the Honduran people prepare to vote in the first referendum. The proposal is to write a new constitution, and a “yes” could radically transform the country. Instead, the first coup d’état in a generation overthrows the elected president of Honduras, plunging the whole region into a chaotic state of uncertainty. A national movement, simply known as La Resistencia, revolts. This documentary follows the boldest branch of the movement, the peasants of the Aguan Valley.
Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley tells the story of the Honduran coup from the inside, following the group who has carried out the most daring resistance to it: the 2000 farming families who took over the plantations of the most powerful man in the country, with no plans to ever give them back. Filmed over four years, the documentary follows three key members of the farmers’ resistance as they build up their new communities on occupied land and agitate for a more democratic state, all while trying to survive the regime’s violent response.
31 min. | 2011
FILMMAKER: Rodrigo Otero Heraud
Saturday, March 21 | 12:00 pm | Theatre 3
Andean farmers eloquently express their feelings towards their seeds which they have been nurturing for several thousand years. They also share what they think of GMOs. As one campesina says, “Seeds have perennial, eternal life, we sow them for food year after year but we retain some to keep life going on endlessly. GMOs seem to me like genocide …”
70 min. | 2014 | Stone Hut Studios
FILMMAKERS: Aaron Dennis & Chelsea Bay Dennis
Saturday, March 21 | 1:15 pm | Theatre 3
The film follows two North American coffee roasters on a journey across Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua to listen to the stories of the people who grow their coffee. On the way they meet with soldiers who have become growers, powerful women who are controlling their own destinies and many small-scale farmers joining together to form cooperatives. This film serves as a starting point to educate coffee drinkers about the basics of fair trade, cooperatives, social justice, shade grown, organic, the conflict in fair trade and the new challenges of dealing with coffee rust. In the context of historical injustices of global politics and international trade, the film asks some tough questions.
88 min. | 2014 | Calle Films
FILMMAKER: Mark Gieco
Saturday, March 21 | 2:30 pm | Theatre 3
If Colombia is the focal point of the new global gold rush, then Marmato, a mining town with over 500 years of mining history, is the new frontier. Gold, estimated to be worth 20 billion dollars, is being mined in traditional ways by the locals who risk their lives daily in return for modest salaries from local businessmen. When the Colombian government opens the mining industry to foreign investment in 2006, hopes are high for more lucrative employment. It doesn’t take long for disillusionment to set in as a Canadian company, Medoro, promptly buys up 88% of the mines in the area and initiates an allegedly “eco-friendly” open-pit mining scheme that entails mass relocation of homes and, eventually, extensive layoffs. Filmed over six years, Marmato is a beautifully shot portrait of the lives of some of the miners who confront and defy Medoro.
120 min. | 2014 | Kabopro Films
FILMMAKER: Hernán Vilchez
Saturday, March 21 | 4:30 pm | Theatre 3
Huicholes:The Last Peyote Guardians is a story about the Wixárika People, one of the last living Pre-Hispanic cultures in Latin America. Their struggle is against the Mexican government and transnational mining companies to preserve Wirikuta, their most sacred territory and the land where the peyote grows, the traditional medicine that keeps alive the knowledge of this iconic people of Mexico.
We enter the Wixárika world accompanying the Ramírez, a typical family of the Sierra Madre, in the traditional pilgrimage to Wirikuta held every year to honour their spiritual tradition. But this time something is different. The “Heart of the World,” where everything is sacred, is in serious danger. In 2010 the Mexican government granted concessions to several Canadian mining companies to explore and exploit the area, a natural reserve of 140,000 hectares of desert and hills in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, rich in gold, silver and other valuable minerals, and that according to the Huichol worldview, maintains the energy balance of the region and the whole planet.