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Help buy cameras for the talented, hard-working young artisans of Oaxaca so they can tell stories about their communities and crafts.
94 backers pledged $6,390 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Documentary as a Tool in the Hands of Young Artisans

$6,390

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The idea for the documentary grew out of my fascination for materials and process from the viewpoint of an artist. However, as I began to plan out the best way to document the practices of the studios around Oaxaca, I saw an opportunity to do more than just observe, by enabling the artisans themselves to examine their peers' work. Considering the number of young people that were destined to continue their family’s craft, they would be ideal candidates to quickly learn to work with the digital tools necessary to document. If I could get cameras into their hands, we would not only make a documentary together but they will learn valuable skills to allow them to compete on the global market from their own homes. Many young members of the studios immigrate to the US in search for better salaries. Oaxaca has the second highest rate of immigrants to the US from Mexico. Giving the young artisans digital tools to help promote their work and grow their business will motivate them to cultivate their craft, built over centuries of tradition.

Oaxaca has the highest concentration of artisans in Mexico. They account for 400,000 people and about 10% of the population of the state. Their craft has evolved over many generations and the familial studios are an ancestral archive, making them an indelible record of Mexican heritage. As a result, the artisanal products are widely coveted and collected by the international market. However, while digital technology is commonly used in commerce to generate money and capital income, current economic restraints on the artisan communities of Mexico have resulted in a general lack of digital tools to support their businesses. That lack of technology has also resulted in the inability of the artisans to share their stories. In an effort to introduce the craftsmanship, history and products of the artisans to the international community, well-meaning organizations have been documenting, marketing and exporting the work. However those tools have yet to be made available to the artisan studios themselves in order to make their practice autonomous and a part of the daily operations of their businesses. Reasons for this oversight have been cited as being: 

ECONOMIC INABILITY to afford digital technologies and reliable Internet

LACK OF EDUCATION in the use of digital technology

LACK OF COLLABORATION among the diverse communities

ECONOMIC INABILITY

Your pledges will buy their cameras! These cameras are for them. They will be available to them to use to document and promote their work even after we finish collecting footage for the film. 

I settled on the Nikon D3200 model because of its low-cost compared to its HD video performance. The interface is also easy to navigate. Your pledges will also fund all the supplementary equipment needed, like lights, tripods, camera bags, etc.

LACK OF EDUCATION

Your pledges will employ a local assistant/educator!

While I am confident in my extensive knowledge and expertise in digital media as the starting point for educating the young members on the team, I plan to hire a local assistant with a background in education to help me devise the best possible experience for the young artisans. The assistant will be generously compensated for one month of work. I intend to instruct in videography and editing, photography and lighting, post-production and color-correction, basic web-development and maintenance. In collaboration with Studio Xaquixe (see PARTNERS IN OAXACA below), who are planning on installing a permanent educational center on the grounds of their studio, we will also include a media center and production studio. I am currently collecting laptop donations for the team members. If you would like to donate a laptop please contact here: oaxyoungartisans@gmail.com

LACK OF COLLABORATION

Your pledges will facilitate starting the documentary process that will bring the youths together. Your pledges will also pay for our transportation and meals together during the filming process and any other extracurricular activities, like visits to specific sites. 

With the assistance of my partners in Oaxaca, I will be diligent in selecting the studios and team members, out of respect for their ancestry and history. With the help of the cameras and the filming process, I will work to inspire their curiosity for their peers' creative work. They will get to hang out and visit each other's studios and interview each other and learn about each other's families and ancestors. Their initiative and willingness to collaborate and the subsequent fruit of their labors will serve as an example to their communities.

My name is Snejina Latev and I am an artist and filmmaker currently working in New York. I am a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, IL'03. For the past 10 years I have been working in television (VH1), as a motion graphics designer, live-action director and creative director alongside working as a studio artist. In the winter of 2015, I took some time to concentrate on my studio work which landed me in Oaxaca. I was exploring the phenomenon of appropriating materials in ways other than their intended use.

I came into contact with Studio Xaquixe, an innovative glass studio based in Magdalena Apasco. Over the past 13 years they have developed methods for micro-industrial sustainability by implementing a wide range of alternative energy technologies harnessing materials from local waste streams. Through this work, they are fostering a trans-disciplinary group of small businesses, which share knowledge and resources to enrich the local communities and economies. Recently I shot and edited a short promotional documentary on the glass studio and its process of converting waste cooking oil into energy. 

Through the studio and their network, I was introduced to a few local artisans, like the women and men of Taller Ruiz Lopez, and the organizations working with them, like The Harp Helu Foundation. While the artisans have informed me of their needs and goals for a more productive environment, the organizations can provide me access to relevant venues in which to give classes and show the results of our collective work. Some such venues are Centro Cultural San Pablo and Centro de las Artes de San Agustin.

I made these sculptures during the winter in Oaxaca. I went to research the process, craftsmanship and materials of the Oaxacan artisans. The idea for the documentary germinated during the production of these pieces therefore they are an indelible part of the project. 

They are constructed from pencils found in an abandoned, burned-down pencil factory outside of Oaxaca as part of an investigation into appropriating discarded materials. The glass in the top skull is custom blown from 95% recycled glass by Salvador Pulido from Studio Xaquixe.

$1500 pledge

Dimensions: 12in X 7in X 6in 

$2000 pledge

Dimensions: 10in X 6.5in X 5.5in

 http://www.coolhunting.com/culture/kickstarter-oaxaca-snejina-latev

Risks and challenges

ECONOMIC INABILITY to afford digital technologies and reliable Internet

Upon the successful funding of this campaign, we will be able to purchase cameras and supplementary equipment for the artisan community. They will be available to them to use to document and promote their work even after we finish collecting footage for the film. We will have access to Internet and a temporary media center in Oaxaca at San Pablo Cultural Center. We are currently working out the details to except a generous donation of 10 computers from Cisco, as part of the permanent installation of a media center/production studio.

LACK OF EDUCATION in the use of digital technology

The process of making the documentary will be the introductory course in digital media as a tool for artisans. I am confident in my extensive knowledge and expertise in digital media as the starting point for educating the young members on the team. In addition, I plan to hire a local assistant with a background in education to help me devise the best possible experience for the young artisans. The assistant will be generously compensated for one month of work. I intend to instruct in videography and editing, photography and lighting, post-production and color-correction, basic web-development and maintenance. In collaboration with Studio Xaquixe, who are planning on installing a permanent educational center on the grounds of their studio, we will also include a media center and production studio. I am currently collecting laptop donations for the team members.

LACK OF COLLABORATION among the diverse communities

With the assistance of my partners in Oaxaca, I will be diligent in selecting the studios and team members, out of respect for their ancestry and history. With the help of the cameras and the filming process, I will work to inspire their curiosity for their peers' creative work. They will get to hang out and visit each other's studios and interview each other and learn about each other's families and ancestors. Their initiative and willingness to collaborate and the subsequent fruit of their labors will serve as an example to their communities.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    + Personalized thank you message from the team of young artisans via text or email
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans

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    6 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    + 5in x 7in signed and personalized thank you postcard of a photo of the young artisans with their brand new cameras
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans

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    11 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    + 16in x 20in signed print of a photograph taken by one of the young artisans
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Thank you credit in the documentary

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    + 18in x 24in print of a photograph from the film signed by all the young artisans and the director
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Thank you credit in the documentary

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    + An artisanal object made by the director, who is also an artist, during the filming of the documentary
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Thank you credit in the documentary

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    + A hand-crafted book of behind-the-scenes photographs
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Thank you credit in the documentary

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    + 5 signed prints of photographs taken by each of the young artisans and the director. Prints in 16in x 20in
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Thank you credit in the documentary

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    + 5 signed prints of photographs taken by each of the young artisans and the director. Prints in 16in x 20in
    + An artisanal object made by the director during the filming of the documentary
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Thank you credit in the documentary

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    + 5 signed prints of photographs taken by each of the young artisans and the director. Prints in 16in x 20in
    + A hardcopy of the finished film in a hand-crafted package*
    + A hand-crafted book of behind-the-scenes photographs
    + An artisanal object made by the director during the filming of the documentary
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Thank you credit in the documentary
    *this part of the reward will be delivered at a later date

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    + Sculpture made by the director, who is also an artist, from discarded pencils found in a burned-down pencil factory outside of Oaxaca, Mexico. The sculptures were created at the time the documentary was conceived.
    + A hardcopy of the finished film in a hand-crafted package*
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Producer credit in the documentary
    *this part of the reward will be delivered at a later date

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    + Sculpture made by the director, who is also an artist, from discarded pencils found in a burned-down pencil factory outside of Oaxaca, Mexico. The sculptures were created at the time the documentary was conceived.
    + A hardcopy of the finished film in a hand-crafted package*
    + Exclusive access to an Instagram account of photos by the young artisans
    + Executive Producer credit in the documentary
    *this part of the reward will be delivered at a later date

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Funding period

- (31 days)