Archives for January 2006

Film Premiere in Shipibo Country

Above: The audience at the film premiere.

The final evening of the workshop was the film premiere of the Shipibo’s new, completely participatory, documentary which they decided to title Paromea Ronin Bakebo, which is Shipibo for The Children of the Anaconda. Many people from the community showed up and there was quite a buzz throughout the village about Village Earth and the film. This was very exciting for everybody involved. The film premiere was amazing. As one American observer remarked, “It was like the Shipibo Academy Awards.” After many long speeches, songs, and special recognitions, the film was projected onto a make-shift screen in the community hall for all the people to see. Everyone was very happy with the film and the children were so excited to see themselves on the big screen. Nothing that Village Earth could have done would have has such an impact on the communities as the impact this event had on them. The Shipibo people completely took over the whole production. It was completely indescribable – words do not do this event justice. We left each participant with their own copy of the documentary on DVD (suprisingly all communities have at least one DVD player!)

Above: Juan Agustin was the very animated announcer during the film premiere.

Community Film Workshop: Days 3-5

On the third day, Village Earth facilitated a story boarding workshop where the Shipibo showed us what aspects of their communities and culture they would like to show the world in a documentary format. This was a particularly interesting and successful part of the workshop. The Shipibo decided to arrange their story based on their past, present situation, and their vision for the future.

Ralf, Village Earth’s documentary film specialist, explained to the participants how to use the video cameras, still cameras, and sound equipment. The Shipibo decided to form three groups – the past, present, and future groups. The next two days of the workshop we all spent hours walking around San Francisco and one nearby community capturing footage that the Shipibo themselves deemed important. This was an experience beyond any of our wildest imaginations. They filmed everything from their craftsmen to their fish farms.

Above: Shipibo Wood Sculptures

All the while, they would bring their footage back to Ralf where he would edit the footage on his computer with their help and suggestions.

Above: The Shipibo film crew huddle around Ralf as he edits with their assistance.

Above: The editing crew burn the midnight oil (literally)

The last day we finished up the workshop by showing them what footage had been captured so far so they could decide what they still wanted to include in their story. As well we spent a lot of time reflecting about the workshop and future plans of action.

Above: The group watches the footage that has been captured so far so they can decide what more they want to film.

Below: The workshop group circles around to reflect upon what they have learned and where they hope to go from there.



Shipibo Community Film Workshop: Days 1 & 2

Above: On the first day participants developed and presented maps of their communities.

Originally, the goals of the 5 day workshop were to provide Shipibo leaders with capacity in participatory learning and action methods (PLA), participatory mapping, and direct links with resource organizations which would provide villagers a solid foundation to initiate their own development initiatives in the region.

The first 2 days of the workshop were an introduction to the Village Earth approach, expectations of the participants and the Village Earth team, and PLA methods – skills and tools used to mobilize communities around resources, local knowledge, and opportunities. The workshop started with a preliminary mapping exercise where participants presented maps of their communities and discussed relevant issues. We also facilitated a Strategic Planning session for each of the five communities present, including Visions and Obstacles, which provided them the basic skills to engage in their own action-based planning process when they return to their communities. This was very successful because the five communities together began to think regionally about their common vision for the future, as well as shared frustrations.

Below: One participant explains his community map while fellow participants film his presentation.

Community Film Workshop Introduction

January 4-8, 2006 

The “Village Earth Peru Team” recently returned from a very successful and rewarding visit to the Shipibo community of San Francisco de Yarinacocha in the Amazon basin, Peru.

Above: Yarinacocha at Sunset.

Approximately 27 Shipibo community leaders attended the workshop representing 5 communities. They all traveled to the workshop at their own expense and one participant even rowed for two days down the Ucayali River to reach the workshop. This showed us their immense determination and dedication to the future of their communities. There were many influential Shipibo leaders involved, including village political leaders, well-respected shamans, and those that work in local non-governmental organizations in Pucallpa. As well, three resource organizations joined us, including the Inti Wayna Foundation, Engineers Without Borders, and Peace Corps representatives.

Above: Loading the boat at the port of Yarinacocha to travel to San Francisco.