Golden Hands - Photo Documentary
Golden Hands - Photo Documentary
For generations mining the rich gold hills of Mindanao in the Philippines has been a dangerous "family" business for thousands.
For generations mining the rich gold hills of Mindanao in the Philippines has been a dangerous "family" business for thousands. Read more
This project will create a focused and compelling photo-documentary of the recent phenomenon of increased black market gold mining due to the financial collapse of major world economies such as the European Union and the United States.
With the price of gold at all-time highs and projected to increase further, thousands of impoverished families in all parts of the world have relocated from traditional family locations and into remote, undeveloped gold districts. These moves of desperation provide harsh, and unforgiving livelihoods. They are generally controlled by financiers, rebels and local politicians who have a invested interest in increased gold production. The recovery process is environmentally devastating, harmful to personal health and the future of any offspring these families may have.
Many children are prohibited from attending school and work the mines with their parents, daily being exposed to mercury, cyanide, and dangerous vapors. Malnutrition and health ailments are common in these remote mining camps. The mortality rate is tragically high.
This is not an isolated problem limited to one region of the world. These squatter mines are all over the world: South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and are mostly unregulated. Landslides, cave-ins, lack of safety equipment, corruption and crime are just part of the day-to-day existence.
An ideal area to portray this increasingly common global phenomenon is the Pantukan gold mining district within the Compostela Valley on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Here, gold veins dissect the mountains and have created a major gold rush as tens of thousands flood the gold rich valleys. And this story is repeated over and over in similar areas on the island in areas such as Monkayo, Diwalwal, and Maragusan.
The economic potential of "the ridge" is enough to lift the Philippines from out of poverty and reclaim its previous developed nation status. We’ll capture the lives, the hardships, and the joys these families experience and in the end, hopefully, will have a book that touches the hearts and minds of those who have the opportunity to experience it, while at the same time teaching them that all decisions made and financial realities experienced, have unintended consequences for people all over the world.
This is a global crisis, our people are our most precious resource, especially our children. The land, contaminated with mercury and cyanide laced sediment will take centuries to recover. If we desire to extract these resources, then it is critical that the ultimate stewards of the earth, the central governments, enforce sustainable and efficient mining practices that protect the environment.
How we are going to do it:
Our team will fly into Manila and then Davao City on Mindanao. Local officials have already been organized to provide briefings on the region, transportation into Pantukan, and living arrangements have been coordinated with local residents.
The team will live with local mining families for 3-4 weeks, documenting theirs, and their neighbors lives as small scale miners. An emphasis will be placed on the children growing up in this lifestyle. Digital recorders will be used in interviews, photos and videos will be made. Backers will be contacted and updated regularly.
At the end of the trip the team will head back to Manila and begin the process of putting together the finished product - a book containing compelling images, the personal stories of local miners, and the dreams of their mining children.
August 12 - Fly to the Philippines
August 17 - Arrive on "the ridge"
September 8 - Team returns to Davao City
September 13 - Team returns to USA
Funding will be used to:
1. Rent extra gear for the documentary
2. Cover the cost of checking gear containers on flights
3. Pay for transportation in and out of the region (atv's)
4. Compensate locals for our time in the community (food, gas, etc)
5. Purchase safety equipment for the team
6. Backer Rewards!!! Prints, Post cards, books
7. Print, Promote, Publish, Ship, and Distribute the finished book
Music in the video above by: http://soundcloud.com/alexptic/for-two
- (59 days)