Day 18: APAK Screenings
When describing the production process, almost everyone leaves out the best part: the showing. Following a four-day whirlwind of production with APAK (that also includes pre and post), we were exhausted yet all too ready to showcase our creations for the communities we had worked with. The morning began with our own mini-screening: we offered critiques and wrapped up final edits for our promotional spots. After lunch, we boarded a bus to our first destination, Cotacachi. We showcased the videos for Mikupashunchik, a restaurant that emphasizes traditional cooking techniques and recipes, and Sumak Muyu, a jewelry shop that utilizes its proceeds to fund school supplies for local schools.
The storytelling we were able to accomplish in 40 seconds is, in short, amazing. The video for Sumak Muyu told the story of a young girl whose teacher inadvertently funded her student’s education…and looked great in her new jewelry. Meanwhile, Mikupashunchik’s starred our very own Niklas and Maddie, long-distance lovers who reunited for a serendipitous feast. The leaders of both communities were incredibly grateful for our presence and work; it was evident both on theirfaces, their gracious words of thanks, and, in the case of Mikupashunchik, their promises of a home-cooked dinner later.
We then left for Imantag, the community whose video I had personally worked on. I was especially excited to show the members of Sisa Huaiku our creation. They are an indigenous dance group that started as a labor of love within the community, which aims to keep traditions of dance and theater alive with los jovenes. Our preproduction meeting determined that we wanted these youth to be our audience; our video concept evolved into showcasing a jopero, or hip-hopper, rapping with his friends. He is then called by his grandmother in Kichiwa, and then is shown participating in the traditional dance. At the end of the video, his friends, who have been watching him dance, applaud and fist bump him, and they all walk into the sunset, a traditional poncho amidst their baggy clothes. The slogan we created was “Puedes mantener estilo de vida, sin perder tu identidad,” or, “You can keep your lifestyle without losing your identity.”
The members of the Imantag community were thrilled with our video. It was a great exercise in physically seeing the positive impact you can have on a group of people; the packed room was very generous in their applause and kind words, and even served us an oatmeal-esque drink and bread. As a videographer myself, I was incredibly proud of the high production quality of the videos we presented to every group. I’m confident that our work will help immensely in furthering the goals of these indigenous communities. We went back to Cotacachi and celebrated with a delicious and healthy dinner from the women of Mikupashunchik—trout, quinoa, potatoes, and aves among the dishes—and ended the night with a dance circle that sealed our successes and the relationships we’d formed with APAK. It was a fantastic night that truly proved the power of positive storytelling, and left us all with a sense of satisfaction. (And, of course, wondering, “When’s the next project?”)