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A year of renewal

// Ariella Orbach

We’ve made it to the halfway point of the 6th Mapuche School of Filmmaking and Communication of the Aylla Rewe Budi. For six years in a row, Wapikoni has arrived in Mapuche territory to work with youth and community members of all ages during the southern hemisphere’s summer break. Our mission: to support Mapuche communities with filmmaking techniques as they pursue the collective project of seeking out, researching, expressing and sharing Mapuche knowledge, stories and the beauty and complexity of their territory. To do this, we tap into the immense creativity and energy of Mapuche youth!

The 6th year of this exciting project has been a year of renewal. We are now joined by the younger sisters and brothers of former participants, who – after years of observing – are now eager for their turn to learn how to make films. This year, we are working with the youngest cohort ever, with an average age of 11! The youngest participants never cease to amaze us with their ideas, cultural knowledge and their will to learn. Meanwhile, some of the more experienced youths, who have been making films since Wapikoni’s first stopover in 2011, are now taking on new responsibilities: Daniela is coordinating the stopover; Lihuen is ensuring the daily transportation of participants from several communities to the workshops. In this way, the cycle of the Mapuche School of Filmmaking and Communication is following its course, just like the cycle of life of the diverse beings that populate Mapuche territory.

Renewal is also manifest in the techniques and themes chosen by participants for their film. This is a year of innovation. The young participants told us: we want to try something new. So, we decided together to experience and experiment with the visual, using animation and exploring the colours of the many landscapes and natural elements of this territory. At the same time, the spoken word remains a key element of Mapuche filmmaking, especially the voice of Elders. Here, Elders guide the development of a film project. To this cultural protocol, the young participants have added a new element: the voice of children, of the next generation that, through narration, joins in dialogue with the voice of its Elders. A dialogue that both values the stories of territory and lived experience of those who know it best, and turns our gaze to a promising future and the continuity of the Mapuche way of life.

And so, we are working with fentren newen (lots of energy) to together create a short film that tells several stories about territory, all linked by a place, a meteorological phenomenon and by the symbolic world of the colours and textures of nature. We’re all very excited to see the result of this year of renewal!

The training, coordination, research and logistics team,

Ariella, Juan, Iphigénie, Julio, Yvonne, Daniela, Silvia and Lihuen