Pachamama is a documentary which aims to shed light on the human narratives behind climate change by giving an insight into the lives of the Kallawayas, an indigenous population in the Bolivian Andes. Having a different perspective of the environment, the Kallawayas revere the earth; which they call Pachamama, and treat it with the same level of care as they would treat their loved ones. As such this community provides an inspiring lens through which to consider our planet.
This deeply human experience of climate change, often neglected in mainstream climate change narratives is the pillar of this documentary. As such, we, the filmmakers behind this project, hope to bring a fresh perspective on this issue, which fundamentally concerns all of us and the future of this planet.
Having been affected by climate change for over a decade, the Kallawayas have no doubt about the reality of climate change, and have had to find innovating ways to adapt. The Kallawayas are traditional healers and according to the UNESCO Safeguarding Project can be traced to the pre-Inca period. They rely on hundreds of plants in order to practice their traditional medicine. For example, they pioneered the use of quinine in malaria treatment. Yet, their extensive knowledge remains at risk of being lost as they struggle to survive in the delicate, and now, threatened mountainous region in which they have lived for centuries, as many have no choice but to migrate to the cities.
A strong interest in climate change and indigenous peoples led us to produce, direct and edit this film which started off as a research project in the summer of 2013 in which we explored how indigenous communities, deeply connected to their land, were being affected by the changing environment. We quickly came across the Kallawayas and after numerous intermittent phone calls with the community, the idea for this documentary was born.
The film was successfully funded after collaborating with educational institutions and a Kickstarter campaign in February 2014. Four months later, Eliza, Nicole and I, made the journey to capture their stories. Only accessible by foot, we trekked, equipment on donkeys, through rivers and steep hills up to Chacarapi, a village located in the Andes, approximately 5000 meters above sea-level.
We lived as part of the community for two months taking part in all activities from potato peeling to alpaca skinning, and in parallel captured more than twenty hours of footage and interviews. The documentary is now in its last stages of post-production and will be screened for the very first time in London in the fall.