Day 14: Food Rules Everything Around Me

Day 14: Food Rules Everything Around Me

Day 14 on this trip and we are well on our way to creating our second videos with APAK. So far this trip has been a whirlwind of constant moving, traveling and experiencing new and exciting adventures so I have no doubt that the filming process with APAK will be anything short of amazing.

Today, we started the pre-production process with our respective groups which included topics such as jewelry making, dance and music of Imantag as well as the preservation of traditional foods. If I had the chance to spend the whole day with each group, I would have learned all their trade secrets so I could make my group’s video the best……..


No, of course, I’m only joking.


But it was a little disappointing that I didn’t get a chance to mingle with the other groups and see how their process went but I’m sure everyone’s ideas were awesome and the finished product is going to be polished. Anyways, from here on out, it’s just going to be about food, food, food.

If anyone knows me, they would not be surprised that I am in a group that is going to make a short film about food. The entire process of pre-production took place from 8am to 5pm and we went through the discussion of themes, objectives and goals then went on to discuss the narrative and finally storyboarding the entire video. But before all that, we learned more about APAK’s mission. First and foremost, APAK came out of the need for representation for indigenous people. This issue not only exists in Ecuador but the conversation of representation also exists in all realms of media all over the world. Not only do different groups of people need representation but more importantly, they need accurate representation of themselves in media. We learned that funding was difficult for APAK as the government did not see this as an immediate issue that needed to be tackled so they did not receive much support. Therefore, they need their own channel in order to get their message out and to help provide accurate representation for the indigenous people of Ecuador.

Shortly after the introduction, we split off into our respective groups and started brainstorming with our APAK directors and coordinators. With Team Comida from APAK was Ati and Elvis. From the start, it was clear that both of them had a wealth of knowledge in video making and had many interesting ideas for narratives that we could tell in order to accurately show the food culture of Cotacachi. While we were brainstorming we also had Señora Magdalena, who is a representative of the community, letting us know whether or not she liked the video ideas. I won’t let any spoilers out as to what we decided on but let’s just say it’ll make a star out of Niklas and Maddie. Watch out for their photos on the cover of all the Ecuadorean magazines.

Elvis (left), Ati (Right) discussing ideas for the video.

Señora Magdalena listening in on the brainstorm.

The storyboarding portion of the day took longer than I thought it would. Our video is only going to be 40 seconds long but visualizing each shot required a very detailed oriented mind. Not only did we need to come up with the action/imagery in the shots but also to figure out what the camera’s perspective was. The important part of the film was to showcase the traditional food that the community makes (usually a soup, entree and a dessert). Hopefully we won’t be too distracted by the food!

Oh, definitely a shout out to Camille, our student advisor but also our awesome translator. Do you ever feel like you can probably speak Spanish because of the 2 years of Spanish class you took? But then comes the day you have to say a coherent sentence and all that comes out is ‘Si’ and ‘No entiendo’. Well thanks to Camille, none of us have any trouble communicating with the people at APAK.

One last thing about food. On our way back from APAK, we stopped at not one, but two bakeries in the span of 5 minutes and obviously bought a ton of bread. Also, we ate lunch until around 2pm, some of us ended up getting food (again) at 7pm and went to an empanadas place a couple blocks down from the hotel. Apparently, some people had already gone there for lunch so I assume they had about 5 empanadas today. But I don’t blame them, they are mouth-watering, to-die-for empanadas that only cost $0.80! If you are ever in Otavalo, go for the spinach empanadas. 10/10 would recommend.