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The most densely populated island on Earth. My documentary film will capture stories & images from this Colombian community.
The most densely populated island on Earth. My documentary film will capture stories & images from this Colombian community.
257 backers pledged $10,166 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$10,166

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Photo by Miguel Espitia.
Photo by Miguel Espitia.

The Project Basics: Santa Cruz del Islote is a small Colombian island of only 2.4 acres and is home to over 1200 people. I will explore the daily life of this island's tight-knit community and document its inhabitants' stories, traditions, and culture. I want to discover how a community works in such tight living quarters. What can those of us who live with more than enough space learn from the way in which these Colombians live?

Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo

More About The Island: Santa Cruz del Islote is a small island in the Caribbean Sea about two hours from Cartagena, Colombia. The island has almost four times the population density of Manhattan, yet residents live in only one-story structures (List of most densely populated islands). Santa Cruz del Islote has just 97 buildings for its residents, including three general stores and a small discoteca where all ages are welcome. The only unoccupied space on the island is half the size of a tennis court. Although the majority of the residents make a living as fishermen, many others find work on the mainland or neighboring islands. No running water or sewer system is available and all electricity originates from a small generator shared by all houses. Although the Colombian Navy transports drinking water to the island once every three weeks, supplies are limited and expensive. Despite these challenges, Santa Cruz del Islote enjoys a peaceful existence within one of Colombia’s most beautiful natural environments. Nowhere on the island do residents feel the need for locks as they live as one cooperative family. I am intrigued by this way of life and hope to explore it with my camera.

Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo

Why This Film Should Be Made: What can those of us who live with more than enough space learn from the way in which the residents of Santa Cruz del Islote live? Scientists and popular media present resource management and overpopulation as some of the largest problems facing our world's future. However, how many of us know what it is like to live in tight quarters with so few resources? How many of us have confronted these challenges in our immediate lives? By learning directly from the residents of Santa Cruz del Islote, we stand to gain a greater understanding of how to best approach these constraints as they inevitably arise in our collective future.

Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo

The Project Logistics:  I will travel to the island with a Colombian friend, Santiago Saavedra Pineda, who has been instrumental in helping me organize my trip. I plan to be in Colombia from June 17th until August 17th of this year. We will stay at an eco-lodge on the mainland, about a one-hour boat ride from the island. The eco-lodge has generously given me a reduced rate as work on the project. Additionally, some of the employees at the eco-lodge are residents of Santa Cruz del Islote and have agreed to introduce me to their fellow community members. They have suggested the possibility of hosting me on the island with their families and friends. Please note that I speak fluent Spanish.

After my stay in Colombia, I will return to the United States to edit the film. The final film will be about 20-30 minutes in length and I will submit it to numerous international film festivals. Throughout the entire project, I will keep a blog where contributors will be updated on the film's progress. I will post preview clips, stories, and photographs as well as details regarding the status of the film.

Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo

Where Will the Money Go?

  • Flights
  • Local ground and water transportation
  • Food and lodging for 8 weeks
  • Equipment rentals and purchases
  • Boat rental
  • Post production and editing
  • Marketing
  • Film festival submission fees

Please contact me if you would like more specific budget information. 

Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo
Photo by Juan Giraldo

Geography: Santa Cruz del Islote resides in the archipelago of San Bernardo, about two hours from Cartagena, Colombia.

Archipelago of San Bernardo
Archipelago of San Bernardo

Risks and challenges

My biggest challenge will be building strong relationships with the residents of the island so that they feel comfortable in front of my camera. In order to truly understand this community, I want to live amongst them for at least two months. I plan to spend the majority of the first month getting to know the residents and will save the majority of the filmmaking for the second month. Additionally, I plan to follow three individual characters in order to portray life on the island through their specific personalities and routines.

As mentioned previously, many of the employees at the eco-lodge where I will be staying live on Santa Cruz del Islote. I will be working alongside these residents during my entire stay and may have the opportunity to spend nights with them on the island. This connection will give me a direct window into their lives in a way that would otherwise not be possible.

Another big challenge will be filming without a production assistant or crew. Due to financial restrictions, I cannot support a second crew member. I hope to collaborate with the residents of the island and thereby make them part of the project's creation.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank you for your support. I will send you a THANK-YOU NOTE and you will be invited to the film's blog and email list which will provide frequent updates on the film's progress. You will also be INVITED TO THE FILM'S PREMIERE, which will take place in both San Francisco and New York (dates TBA). Thank you for helping me reach my goal.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards as well as an HD DOWNLOAD OF THE FILM upon its completion.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards as well as a PHOTOGRAPH OF SANTA CRUZ DEL ISLOTE taken during the filming process.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards as well as a SPECIAL EDITION DVD of the film upon its completion.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards as well as ONLINE ACCESS TO EXCLUSIVE ROUGH CUTS and clips of the film during the editing process. This will give you a direct window into the entire process of the film's creation.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards and your NAME WILL BE LISTED in the credits of the final film.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards and your name will appear with "SPECIAL THANKS" in the film's credits.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards and you will be listed in the credits of the film as a "PRIMARY SUPPORTER" of the project. Your corporate logo will also appear in the credits if desired. Finally, you will receive a handmade craft from the island.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards and you will be listed as an honorary "ASSOCIATE PRODUCER" in the film's credits. You will have the option of providing direct feedback before the film is finished. I will also take you and a friend out to a COLOMBIAN DINNER in New York or San Francisco.

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    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    Thank you for your support. You will receive all the previous rewards and I will host a PRIVATE SCREENING for you and 15 friends at a location of your choice. A Colombian dinner and drinks will be provided as well as a private Q&A. Location must be in either the New York or San Francisco areas.

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Funding period

- (30 days)