10 · 23 · 19

FICM held second day of Forum Indigenous Women Filmmakers

By: Aranza Flores @Alvayeah

On the second day of the Forum Indigenous Women Filmmakers: identity and new narratives, one of the most disturbing themes of current cinema was addressed: equality, equity and gender perspective cinema. On this occasion, documentary maker, politologist, curator and researcher, Christiane Burkhard spoke with several filmmakers about their motivations and the main issues they have faced as Indigenous women.

In the conversation participated the Zapotecs Ingrid Eunice Fabián and Luna Marán, director of Tío Yim, documentary in competition at the Festival; Yolanda Cruz, from the Chatino community; Iris Belén Villalpando, belonging to the Yoreme de Ahome population in Sinaloa; activist Zenaida Pérez, originally from the Ayuujk (mixe) community of Tlahuitoltepec, and María Sojob, a Tzotzil woman whose documentary feature film Tote_Abuelo is also part of the Official Selection of this edition of the FICM.

“It is very important to us to have been given this space of reflection and community, because by being here we can inspire more women to come out,” said Yolanda Cruz, who has participated in previous editions with works such as Reencuentros: entre la memoria y la nostalgia and Guenati’za: Los que vienen de visita; her short film Reencuentros: 2501 migrantes is also screening in cinemas.

Foro Cineastas Indígenas Mexicanas

Foro Cineastas Indígenas Mexicanas

The interest and hunger for knowledge that motivates Indigenous women to take a camera and capture themselves and their community were the central axis, not only of this conversation, but also for the opening of a space that allowed visibility and the act of sharing experiences and knowledge. For instance, one of the main topics of interest is monolingualism: most media only use Spanish.

“It is based on the necessities of my hometown, like the preservation of native tongues, that new generations of youth no longer speak them, and women trades; I felt that it was necessary to document everything that could be documented,” shared Iris Villalpando.

Most women who leave their native communities to study in other cities are not aware of their rights, which is why they are victims of discrimination and racism. María Sojob, who was also an activist and participated in the media of her community, said she did this more as a denunciation tool: “Because what happened inside my space didn’t come out. At that point I realized that video was extremely important.”

Foro Cineastas Indígenas Mexicanas

Foro Cineastas Indígenas Mexicanas

Additionally, Luna Marán acknowledged: “I have been a result of the steps that other women have taken in the appropriation of the media by Indigenous people,” since most speakers studied communication and have experience in media.

The fact that there is a space to share different perspectives, of the variety of languages and existing ways of seeing reality, even among the same populations, is a way of fighting the discrimination rooted in Mexican culture. “Mexico is very diverse, but within the same media a single way of being Mexican has been spread in the collective imagination. From my activism I seek to promote the diversity that exists. The word diversity is very beautiful and it sounds easy, but materializing it is a challenge,” reflected Zenaia Pérez.