An intimate family ritual in a Quechua community, welcoming the soul of a recently deceased relative for a day-long visit.
UPDATE – SOUL’S VISIT TO THE ALTAR
I want to share an experience we had while filming the culmination of the ceremonies of Todos Santos last year.
In this community the belief is that the recently departed soul visits and resides in the home altar for 24 hours. During this time, various types of offerings to the soul are placed on the altar. At the end of the 24 hour visit, when the soul departs, these offerings are distributed to all the extended family members who have come to pay their respects. The altar is then taken apart and burned outside the house.
On that final day, when we were reviewing photos we had taken of the burning of the altar, we came upon what was to us a jolting image. The flames rising from the remains of the altar appeared to take the shape of a person in movement. When we showed the photo to our local hosts, they were not surprised, and happily commented, “Oh, the soul departing...”
METAMORFOSIS DOCUMENTATION PROJECT
Metamorfosis Documentation Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and promoting the richness and importance of cultural traditions, focusing on cross cultural rituals and dances in the Americas. We believe valuing historic cultures and rituals is necessary for these societies to survive and thrive in the modern world.Through collaborative projects with mestizo and indigenous communities, we produce documentary films, supporting the rituals and dances in their own cultural settings, and share the documentaries with a wider audience, fostering an understanding of distinct cultures.
WHY AND HOW WE DOCUMENT
The communities we work with are being influenced by outside cultures, threatening their social and cultural identity and sense of self-worth. Our documentaries strive to present the chosen ritual from the point of view of the community members, relying to a large degree on their own words to convey the meaning and importance of the ritual.
With the communities, we also create a related project in which the materials resulting from the documentation are returned for their use. This usually involves a collaborative effort to mount a permanent exhibit featuring the documentary and related materials in their Community Museum. The community is gifted with the rights to reproduce the documentary to sell it at the museum, with the proceeds directed to maintain and develop the museum. The documentation is no longer merely preserving a snapshot of a culture in time, but serving to empower these communities and reinvigorate these traditions.
An artistic and educational endeavor, our process is designed to foster respect and support for all cultures. Our public presentation of the results of these projects include documentary film screenings, submissions to film festivals, lectures, photographic exhibitions, web presentations, and related art works. We offer opportunities for wider audiences to experience an inside look at cultures and community rituals markedly different from their own and reflect on the importance of their own cultural rituals and traditions.
OUR PROJECT: “TODOS SANTOS / Feast of the Souls”
Our first documentary focusing on Day of the Dead is “TODOS SANTOS / Feast of the Souls”. Candelaria is a community of 800 people in the southern Andes of Bolivia. It is an isolated agrarian community, and the women here are known for being amongst the finest weavers in all of Bolivia. In 2006 they formed a local weavers’ association (Unay Pallay Asociación de Tejedores de Candelaria), and, with the help of a Peace Corps volunteer, built a small Community Museum dedicated to the culture and weaving of the area.
The village of Candelaria, and inside view of the Community Museum.
Santusa Quispe, master weaver from Candelaria.
The celebration of Todos Santos (their version of Day of the Dead) in this traditional Quechua community has roots in the cult of the dead of the local prehispanic indigenous cultures and in pagan and Catholic rituals. Our documentary will portray how these rituals to honor the dead strengthen family and community ties, bringing about a sense of belonging and well-being.
WHAT WE NEED
We are now in the post-production phase of this project. We documented the Todos Santos celebrations in Candelaria in October – November of 2010 and 2011. We now need some help raising funds for post-production expenses, returning to Candelaria in July of this year to install the documentary in their Community Museum, and submitting the film to film festivals. We will also be offering lectures and film screenings here in the U.S., and the film will be available through our website.
We are trying to raise $7,000 to help cover expenses for this phase of the project (the total cost for this phase, all things included, is anticipated to be upwards of $12,000). Your donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law, as Metamorfosis Documentation Project is a 501 (c) (3) organization. You will receive a donation letter (your donation less the value of what you receive).
The film is beginning to take shape, and we are very excited about the project. It promises to provide a heartfelt, inside and personal look at this ancient colorful ritual – this traditional community’s enthusiasm and involvement in this project have been simply amazing.
Please consider helping out with a donation to finish our film – we need your help to make it happen. Along with our sincere gratitude, each backer who makes a donation will receive a special reward, providing we meet our funding goal. Thank you for your support!
HOW TO USE KICKSTARTER
Click on "Back this project" above. If you would like to receive a gift for your pledge you may select from the listed "Backer Rewards". Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. So until we reach our goal, this campaign is not guaranteed to raise any money!
Music for our kickstarter video by Claudio Nuñez.
How can I follow your progress after the fundraising period ends?
Can I make an anonymous donation?
Yes. You can use a pseudonym when making your pledge, and we will contact you after the fundraising period is over to ask if and how you want your name to appear on our website and/or in the film credits.
Can we exceed the fundraising goal?
Yes. Exceeding the goal would help cover more of the costs to finish the film. As we noted above, our costs will exceed the goal, so any further donations will be greatly appreciated!
Can I increase my pledge once it’s been made?
Yes. If you want to increase your pledge amount, or change your backer reward to a different one, go to Kickstarter and sign in. If you go to our project page, the green “Back This Project” button has been replaced with a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount, or choose a backer reward.
How can I get further information?
If you have any questions or comments, please email Armando Espinosa at firstname.lastname@example.org . We’ll answer all emails promptly.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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