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ITU NINU (CUMBRES DE MAIZ) Press Conference at the 21st FICM

Omar Sosa Topete

As part of the Official Selection of the 21st Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), the Itu Ninu (2023, dir. Itandehui Jansen) press conference took place.

The screenwriter and producer Armando Bautista, and the actresses Alejandra Herrera and Nadia Ñuu Savi were present at the conference.

Itu Inu

Itu Ninu is a co-production between Mexico and the United Kingdom, which received support for the production from the Royal Society of Edinburgh Award, the Edinburgh Council Diversity and Inclusion Award, and the College of Art Humanities and Social Sciences Award.

It is a Mixtec science fiction film set in a dystopian future in which many people are forced to move from their places of origin because of climate change. The film invites us to reflect on the current situations around migration and climate change.

The idea came up while the director Itandehui Jansen, originally from Oaxaca and a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, was carrying out research work on the impact of the resources used in the film industry on the environment.

Following the subject matter, the film had an eco-friendly production. "We want to keep telling stories as we like. We are part of the industry, but we also want to be aware that cinema cannot be so polluting," Bautista said.

For the production team, it was ironic to make a pro-environment film while polluting. According to the data given by Alejandra Herrera, the film was shot emitting only a ton in carbon emissions, with a crew of two people, materials they already owned, costumes obtained in second-hand stores, natural light and a small camera. "It was absurd for the director to travel for the promotion of the film and burn more (carbon) in one trip to spend three days (in Morelia)," Bautista said of Jansen's decision.

Nadia Ñuu Savi
Alejandra Herrera

"I think of cinema as art, but also as a deeply political act that can tell stories and at the same time vindicate them," said actress Nadia Ñuu Savi about the importance of the film having promotion in festivals such as the FICM.

Bautista said that, as indigenous creators, they considered it important to make a film in Mixtec because of the urgency of preserving a language that is being lost. This represented a difficulty because there were many terms used in the script that didn't exist in Mixtec. For this reason, actress Ñuu Savi, who among many other things, writes poetry in tu'un savi (Mixtec), made poetic use of the language to translate the message and make it understandable to those the film was made for: Mixtec communities.

"That dystopian world is not far away, we are already living it and we do not realize it, we continue with our daily lives. We attempted to express that in the project,” Bautista added.