Daupará: 10th Anniversary of an Indigenous Film Festival in Colombia

Cineastas indígenas. Photo credit: Daupará
For 10 years now, the nonprofit Daupará in Colombia that has led the diffusion of indigenous video and cinema as well as organized yearly festivals with the goal of “conserving, strengthening and disseminating the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples, with emphasis on audiovisual production and sovereignty, contribute to the fabric of their own communication, reaffirming and preserving the use of indigenous languages.” It’s birth came about from a confluence of communicators, activists, and video producers with links to indigenous organizations and CLACPI (the Latin American Coordinator of Cinema and Communication of Indigenous Peoples), a network of 22 member groups from as many as 15 different countries from the Americas as well as France, Spain, Basque Country, and New Zealand.
Thinking Like a Mountain
Thinking Like a Mountain. Photo credit: Daupará
This year’s festival―taking place between September 11-14―included as many as 48 films from Colombia and Argentina, Brasil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Russia and Turkey. The festival is accompanied by a conference, “VI Encuentro de Saberes en Comunicación audiovisual Indígena,” to integrate a cultural exchange of video and film producers related to the importance of audiovisual indigenous communications in the context of making Native nations visible. This year’s festival theme included three perspectives: “Looking with our own eyes” (Nuestra Miradas), “Eyes that are by our side,” (Miradas que acompañan), and international features including One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk about the Inuit peoples, and El hueso y la bicicleta (The bone and the bike) a Wapiknia production about the Sikuani peoples in Colombia that tells the story of survival of a Native nation threatened by cultural and physical extinction because of the ongoing war on drugs and civil conflict. In “El hueso y la bicicleta” an indigenous girl aches to keep her cultural heritage alive and travels by bike through native terroritories to talk to the elders about rituals practiced to stay in touch with their ancestors’ spirits. She tells us:
I realize that culture changes. Each time we share it, it transforms. She is life. She is born from the land we use and changes with it…How do I return life to my culture and reclaim it?…I have looked within me and have found an incomplete identity, but real. That of a young Sikuani. I can hear within me the voices of my ancestors. The land guides me like the wind. I’ve tried touching the immaterial, the invisible and have only found bits and pieces. We have to reconstruct our identities; be born from the ashes. We’ll look at tomorrow’s day and we will be different.
Visual imagery of what we are and want to be as indigenous peoples—whole and incomplete in our historical narrative of repression and resistance—allow us to discover new ways of looking at the mirror and within ourselves. Daupará’s film festival goes beyond watching movies for entertainment value, but serve as models of cultural empowerment to reclaim our space/time in past experiences, the present day, and for our collective future.
Zhamayama, los espíritus de la música
Zhamayama. Photo credit: Daupará
In Daupará’s own words: “In the motivations and narrative ideas of these works lies a common strength of the resistance, sovereignty and self-determination of the original peoples, who understand that the new tools and languages ​​of modern western communication can fit into our ancestral cultural reproduction strategies.” RESOURCES: