Kantza is a film project envisioned and produced by members of the Shuar nation, indigenous caretakers of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Through collaboration with professional video and audio technicians the tribe intends to share the beauty of their culture as well as the struggle to preserve their homelands. Furthermore, the skills gained by making their own movie will offer on-going opportunities to document culture, share wisdom and engage the global community in ways that support social and environmental justice.
Kantza will explore the interface between traditional Shuar culture and the possibilities and challenges of today’s modern world. Rather than sending scholars, explorers, and university ‘experts’ to study and report about indigenous cultures, the Amazon people ask instead for help in obtaining the tools that will allow them to share their world personally and truthfully, in their own words, through their own creations. The Shuar are excited to express their living tradition through new mediums.
With support from this campaign the Shuar will receive valuable training in audio and video production as well as minimal but professional quality equipment, designed to handle the extreme conditions of the Amazon jungle. Prepared to share their story with the world, the Shuar intend to document their own culture and offer knowledge and inspiration pertaining to environmental and social issues impacting the entire planet. Additionally, the Shuar are excited to share skills and resources with neighboring communities in an attempt to further empower cultural expression and vocalize indigenous presence throughout the Amazon and support inter-tribal solidarity.
The $15,000 we raise through Kickstarter will provide the minimum needed to realize a short film version of Kantza. This includes a professional camera, updates for computers, and solar power to run the media center. This also contributes to the travel expenses of professional video and audio technicians who will be supporting and teaching the Shuar in their initial filming process.
This version of the film will stand on its own as the first creative film produced by the Shuar. It will also be used to garner additional support in order to create a final, feature length film. If this current campaign is capable of reaching $20,000 - $30,000+, the additional funds will support expansion of the project, including additional post production support and training. Furthermore, it will be possible to begin similar work with neighboring villages, enabling more indigenous voices to share their perspective with the world.
Ultimately, we hope to see media outposts created throughout the Amazon, capable of addressing four critical aspects of global environmental and cultural health: Human Rights, Culture, Environment, and Youth Action. By amplifying the voice of the indigenous caretakers of these lands we hope to support global health in the following ways:
Indigenous peoples in the Amazon live in extremely remote locations where they have virtually no access to the outside world. They currently do not have efficient communication tools for urgent needs and adequate political representation.
400 indigenous groups in the Amazon are waiting to speak for themselves to the international community for the first time. The communications equipment will provide a means for the tribes to preserve their cultures through self-archiving: sharing their medicinal knowledge, sustainability practices, spiritual heritage and cultural ways through online repositories.
When a tree falls, the world will finally hear. Through a communications network of local media centers using portable technologies, indigenous communities can alert officials on illegal forest degradation, educate others about sustainable forestry practices, and strengthen scientific efforts to monitor the forest. Many scientists now suggest that preserving the Amazon is one of the most efficient and effective ways to lessen the impact of climate change
Cultural archiving tools provide the youth with inspiring artistic projects that bring the focus away from external cultures back onto their own, encouraging them to convene with elders to capture rich cultural music, stories, medicinal knowledge, and histories of the land. Cultural erosion is prevented through access to online education that eliminates the need for children to leave their homes to attend distant schools where they lose their cultural values, native language, and environmental knowledge.
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