“We took the camera to represent ourselves”: FICM opens the Mexican Indegenous Filmmakers ForumBy: Aranza Flores @Alvayeah
Since 2007, the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) organizes the Indigenous People Forum. This year, Daniela Michel, general director of the Festival, in the company of Marina Stavenhagen, Forum coordinator, as well as María Novaro, director of the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE), filmmakers and Indigenous directors, inaugurated the Forum Mexican Indigenous Filmmakers: identity and new narratives, which will take place for two days during the 17th FICM.
In this space were present the Purépecha Magda Cacari; Mixtecs Ángeles Cruz and Dinazar Urbina Mata; as well as Dolores Sántiz Gómez, member of the Totzil community of Cruztón, Chiapas; Amalia Córdova, curator of digital and emerging media at the Center of Popular Arts and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institute, and María Candelaria Palma, member of the Afro-Indigenous community of San Antonio in Guerrero, whose documentary feature film, Rojo, is part of this edition’s Official Selection.
Moderated by María Inés Roque, director of Ambulante Más Allá, the conversation turned into what Stavenhagen called “the fresh looks on the great cultural diversity that exists in Mexico.” Novaro also made an important call: “The words ‘indigenous’, ‘woman’, and ‘filmmaker’ used to be excluded. That is over now.”
For 12 years, with the support of IMCINE and the Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences of the United States, the FICM creates a space dedicated to indigenous people with the purpose of, not only encouraging inclusion but also visualizing the work of members of indigenous communities and transmitting, through cinema, the great amount of existing ways to see the world.
Among laughter and tears of excitement, the filmmakers attended with their colorful traditional costumes and spoke in their original tongue. “To me cinema has been a great opportunity to tell stories from my vision and that of my community,” expressed Ángeles Cruz.
This talk, Representación e identidades: lo indígena en el cine contemporáneo, addressed the theme of how native people have appeared in film from the life history of each one of the participants. “I wanted to be an actress but I suffered a lot of discrimination and I always got the same roles, so I decided to tell my own stories through my own means,” explained Dinazar Urbina.
“The indigenous woman is represented as uneducated and destined to do a specific job in films. Forget about them as directors. From our communities we took the camera to represent ourselves,” said Ángeles Cruz, while Magda Cacari complemented, “external cinema erases our worldviews.”
With a duration of four hours, the talk began on its first day with axis such as identity, discrimination, gender equality, representation and, above all, the voice and space for filmmakers to tell their stories and what cinema means to them.