by Ann Hedreen
In this reflective, first-person film, I trace the unlikely connection between a health clinic serving families in a settlement on the outskirts of Lima, Peru and my great-uncle, a founder of the Peruvian fish meal industry.
Zona Intangible begins by asking this question: Who, in this world, does not long for home? If we can no longer live in the home of our birth, we set to work creating a new one. A new nest for our family. A place where our luck might turn. On hillsides, down valleys, on the flats and shores and riverbeds and highlands outside every city in every country in the world, people come and they build.
Their homes are the handmade towns ringing the outer edges of the world's major capitals. The United Nations estimates one out of every six people in the world lives in one of these human settlements.
Zona Intangible journeys into the heart of one such city, Manchay, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru.
It is in Manchay where I met Dr. Juan Fabian, working tirelessly at the Policlinico Carlos Hedreen to meet the health needs of Manchay's poor. It is here where I met Father José Chuquillanqui Yamamoto, the Catholic priest who is a respected, driving force in Manchay, helping to ensure the basic human rights of the population: peace, safety, education, water, electricity and hope. It is here I consider the legacy of the namesake of the health clinic, Carl Hedreen, a young businessman from Seattle who became a pioneer of the modern Peruvian fish meal industry, mining the anchovy-rich Humboldt Current off the country's coast. Like foreign businessmen before him, his goal was to run a profitable enterprise, but one that would also help improve the living standards of hundreds of Peruvian employees.
Carl Hedreen was my great-uncle. It was his stories of Peru that gave me my very first understanding of how large the world was. And it was my curiosity about how a health clinic in a Peruvian asentamiento humano, or human settlement, came to bear his name that led me to Manchay.
Now, 12 years after the founding of the Policlinico, my husband Rustin Thompson and I are making a film that is about much more than my great-uncle. It is a ruminative, personal story in one sense, and a very global story in another.
The people of Manchay first came to Lima in the 1980s, when their mountain villages were caught in the crossfire of a war between government troops and terrorists of the Shining Path. Manchay, a word that means "fear" in the Andean Quechua language, was an abandoned gravel pit before the first settlers moved there in 1985. Thirty years later, Manchay is ringed by hilltop signs bearing an ominous warning: “Zona Intangible." The signs are meant to stop people from building on the shifting sand and rock of Manchay, but still they come.
Many paid a high price to live in this intangible zone of peace and safety and hope for the future, and they value these intangibles in a way most of us have never had to.
In Zona Intangible, I ask questions about the meanings of home and history, migration and memory, and I explore the complex ties between refugees who fled violence and terrorism to start new lives in a desert outpost, and a North American they never met.
Why We Need Your Help
The money we raise through Kickstarter will help pay for the following:
-Archival Associated Press film footage of the civil war between the government and the Shining Path
–photo rights to still images shot during this time
–video and audio post-production expenses
We have received modest amounts of funding from two local arts organizations: Women in Film-Seattle and King County 4 Culture. We've also received a private donation from a family member; and we've offset some costs by working in Peru for the University of Washington Department of Global Health. But mostly we've paid our own way, traveling and living cheaply on the road.
Funding for documentaries is very difficult to get. Major funding for documentary films mostly rests in the hands of a few private organizations, called "decision makers" by those in the industry. Many of these organizations have worthy but specific agendas for where their money ends up. Only a handful of films each year are awarded funds and the pressure to compete is an intense and drawn-out process. However, by donating directly to a film or to any artistic project of your choice, you become the decision maker. You ensure the existence of all kinds of stories: the large, the small, the personal, and the global.
Rustin and I are a two-person team. We do all of the producing, interviewing, shooting, sound recording, editing and directing, opting for a close-to-the-ground, small footprint way of working. This enables us to get lots of compelling footage in a relatively short time. After many years of first working in television broadcasting and, more recently, producing more than a hundred short films for our non-profit clients, we feel one of our best skills is to know when we have the material for a story to tell.
We are editing the film right now, and plan to complete post-production in early 2016 to ready the movie for film festivals, online streaming, video-on-demand, and educational markets. Our goal is to have a film that you can see and own yourself by July of 2016.
Risks and challenges
Ann and I have successfully completed 4 feature length documentaries, 2 short documentaries, and more than 100 short doc-style films for our non-profit clients. We do not anticipate being unable to complete this film. The real challenge comes afterward, in the quest to get the film out to the wide world. With your help in getting this documentary to the finish line, we will be ready to tackle that next phase of the process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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