'The Last Bridge Master' Update
Happy New Year!
In the midst of it...
Take a trip to the Keshwa Chaca rebuilding festival!
We’re still here! Although its been a long time since we’ve sent a Last Bridge Master update, entirely too long, we certainly did not forget about you. So first of all, our apologies!
Though we have had to put our project on hiatus for short amounts of time over the past year, our commitment to LBM has remained steadfast. We are particularly committed to the subjects of our film, who we consider friends. Their story is a significant and complex one, and we wish to tell it right. For the time that takes to tell, we ask you to forgive us.
We’ve spent many many hours in post-production, as well as more production. This past summer, Elisa returned to Peru to follow up with our subjects whose lives have changed quite a bit since we began research on this project.
We have also had the great honor of collaborating with the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on their exhibition "The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire." Our footage from Huinchiri and the Q'eswachaka festival as well as our short video on the construction of the bridge is on display at the exhibition in Washington D.C. through April 2018. But the most exciting part of this partnership took place at the Folk Life Festival in D.C. this past summer. The Smithsonian flew Victoriano and a contingent from his village to the National Mall to build a model bridge! Meeting Victoriano and the other folks from Huinchiri there in Washington D.C. was a surreal and moving experience.
One of the most difficult situations we have dealt with, as filmmakers and as people invested in this family's life, involved Ruth Laurita, the Bridge Master's daughter. Elisa's visit in May uncovered some very disturbing truths about her life today and treating that footage in a way that is respectful and honest has become a constant priority in our post-production. The layers of cultural identity, change, modernization, patriarchy, female empowerment, domestic violence and coming-of-age are all represented in this narrative. While still a story of ancient traditions and the cultural phenomenon of the grass bridge, our film is deeper and richer than we could ever have anticipated.
We’re hoping for a release sometime this year. Much fine-tuning of the story is yet to be done as well as more technical elements like sound and color. The documentary is shaping up into a piece that we are quite proud of, and we remind ourselves constantly that we would not be in this position without you.
Here is a link to Weaving the Bridge at Q'eswachaka, produced by Noonday Films and showing at the National Museum of the American Indian. It will give you a little taste of Victoriano in action!
Thank you again for your support! Look for more updates in the months to come!
Elisa and Matthew
-- Noonday Films www.thelastbridgemaster.com
Its been a long time since we've updated here. We've sent out periodic emails, which all of you should be included on. If by chance we missed you on the email list and you'd like to be included, please let us know.
A year has passed since each of you helped us to get to Peru. We are so grateful for all of you, and are constantly reminded of your generosity. You "kickstarted" this film. See what I did there?
Its hard to believe its been a year. We moved to Peru last June, and we have flights booked back to the US for this June, after the bridge building festival.
Production has gone well, but we still have so much to shoot before June. There have been many unforeseen turns in the story, but I believe that this is the way it works. Life is unpredictable. It has been a wild ride getting a personal look into Andean life and relationships. Elisa is headed back out to the village tomorrow to continue capturing the lives of our wonderful subjects.
For further insight on the ongoings of the documentary, continue to follow our blog at: thelastbridgemaster.com
And you can follow our own personal family (of 5) adventures here: touchingtheglory.wordpress.com
Thanks again my friends,
We are feeling settled in here and ready for a fantastic year of filmmaking! We are making plans for Elisa, our cinematographer, to spend some extended time at the village school and on the family farm filming the daily lives of the Arisapana family. There are some community events over the next few months that we will be filming as well as the planting season beginning in November. In the meantime, we are continuing to follow Vidal in Lima and Yuri in Cusco, as well as pursuing partnerships with Peruvian organizations. We hope to lay some groundwork for local community involvement and distribution of the completed film in Peru.
We are still waiting on additional funding, with several major grants we've applied for making decisions this November. We continue to look for interested organizations to partner with us in telling this story.
Again, you can follow our personal journey on our blog, http://touchingtheglory.wordpress.com/. And keep your eyes on http://www.thelastbridgemaster.com for filming updates, anecdotes, photos and behind the scenes videos! In other news, our previous film, Old Radicals, is now available to view online at https://vimeo.com/matthewleahy/oldradicals. The film is being provided at no cost, but there is a Tip Jar available on the website for online donations for anyone interested.
Matthew and Elisa
Those of you who are adventurers may be interested in Rutahsa Adventures. They offer a trip to the bridge rebuilding festival each June and it sounds like an amazing experience, including quite a tour of Peruvian culture around the country. You can read about this years trip here: http://www.rutahsa.com/peru-13.html But sign up soon! The deadline is April 14th!
If you decide to go, look for us! We'll be there filming Victoriano and his family, thanks to all of you, our generous supporters!