Friday, September 23, 2011

Festival de Cine Verde de Barichara - Festiver!

A popular place on weekends and when the river is rushing,
but is is also important to remember that locals have built
up immunities to the things that are in this water.
The film festival for ecological filmmakers, Festival de Cine Verde de Barichara, began on the 20th of September running until the 24th and this is a first here in Barichara. The mission is a grand one, hopeful of reaching young and old on the issues of habitat preservation, promotion of initiatives, projects, etc. No one wants to see a successful event more than I do.

Dinner's waiting... uncovered chicken parts in 70+ degree
temperatures (Oh well, it is shady...) along with the laundry.
Underneath this platform were piles of chicken feathers,
bits of trash, and decaying other chicken bits - gasp!
However, click on this YouTube promotion which I find rather curious. I don't discount the heartfelt welcome the video offers, but the ecological aspects are confused by a large plastic rolling thing which doesn't make sense to me at all. Also, the place where the young boy is swimming appears, at first glance, to be 'scenic,' but it is hardly the place of ecological splendor when the consequence of trash, decaying chicken parts and excrement can be washed into the pool by our torrential rains; a pool which is actually swimming with bacteria. This didn't show up on the film, but here is what I saw a few days ago at this location.

It is not my intent to tear down the objective of the festival, but the disconnect between the ideal and the reality is huge here. There is a terrific need for leadership for the community to bring it forward into the 21st Century without losing the charm and beauty of the 17th Century and we are about to have an election which I fear is based on 19th Century objectives.

There are the outsiders, referred to as 'afuedas', some of whom see this village as a potential money pit and are doing all they can to place themselves for what they see as the coming windfall, and some others of whom are attempting to turn the tide to protect what is viewed as precious and antiquated and attractive while educating on the merits of preservation, ecological awareness and good, planned growth. The battle lines are being drawn and it may not be pretty.

But there is also a group of natives, whether native to Barichara or to someplace else in Colombia, who see the growth in Barichara as dangerous, life-changing, and a threat to the old way of living and controlling the camposinos (workers). These people have little to lose in their efforts to stop what is, although they don't see it, inevitable. I recently warned some individuals who want to establish a new business outside of town that they must be mindful to find a way to include those locals who will be eventually displaced by the new activity; whether by finding them a job in the new business or doing something else to moderate the pain of change. Resentment is a powerful emotion, easily fueled by a minor slight.

It is wonderful to have a cinematic festival here in the pueblo. Free movies every night with a double feature for four days is one of the benefits. Last night we saw a US film, "A Sea Change," (  which was an excellent explanation of the damage that CO2 is doing right now and which will affect all of us. This is a great film for children to understand the importance of our oceans as a grandfather writes and shares with his grandson his perspectives.

The night before we saw a Canadian film, "How to Boil a Frog," which was a delightful - and sometimes humorous - call to activism using YouTube and other social media to effect change. The language in the film, however, is not for young kids.

But the irony is not lost on me that for all its focus on the ecological aspects of filmmaking, there is a huge gap in understanding that education about preserving the land begins with the very young and must be guided ever afterwards by an astute leadership.


  1. Even though I can't understand the language I can clearly understand that big clear ball makes no sense.

  2. Thanks, Birdie, for stopping by. Most of the locals simply don't 'get it' and in trying to explain my observation in my broken Spanish I think many folks view me as being 1) boring, 2) stupid and/or 3)unable to take a joke. Not all, but many people, seem to think anything that is classed as entertainment (and that goes for 4-wheeled off road 'scooters') is OK.