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In a buzz of creativity

// Ariella Orbach

The two final weeks of the 6th Wapikoni Mobile stopover at the Mapuche School of Filmmaking and Communication of the Aylla Rewe Budi flew by in a buzz of creativity! Fifteen youths took part in the training offered by Wapikoni, which came to its end last Friday with a big community event.

Collective creation, the filmmaking method practiced by the Mapuche School of Filmmaking and Communication, is an exercise in complementarity. Each young participant contributes to a collective project according to her or his interests, curiosities, talents and skills. Some participants jumped at the chance to learn animation techniques, creating figures out of plasticine and using the stop motion technique, contributing their drawing talents, or learning the basics of advanced animation with the software After Effects. Those with a more poetic penchant worked together to write a narration filled with symbolism or to select images to illustrate the film with their beauty. Some worked with admirable concentration to subtitle content spoken in the indigenous language; others offered to get up at 5:00 am to go to the beach and film jaw-dropping images at sunrise. Two young girls dedicated themselves to practicing the complex pronunciation of Mapuzugun, the Mapuche language, to deliver a moving narration. All this without mentioning the fundamental participation of the Elders who shared their knowledge and lived experiences, the translators who helped us subtitle the material to Spanish and the families who welcomed our big production team into their homes, who fed us, transported us and shared their daily lives with us. If you’ve wondered why our credits are so long, you now have the answer!

This collective, inspiring, admirable process resulted in a complex short film that addresses the way the Mapuche-Lafkenche (people of the ocean) observe, perceive and enter into a balanced relationship with the ocean. At the same time, the film emphasizes the lived experiences of Elders as a source of indigenous ways of life and, through visual and symbolic elements, speaks to the balance between human and environment, male and female, Elder and youth, past and future. The young filmmakers were also very interested in researching the story of several families from their communities, whose genealogy was influenced by a historical event: the shipwreck of a European boat on the Mapuche coast and the integration of the surviving women into Mapuche society. A second short film was made to give place to the telling of this event by two Elders, the result of an oral research process led by the youth. This film also offered the perfect opportunity for some participants to practice animation techniques to re-create these events that took place in the 19th century.

On February 12th, almost 70 people squeezed into an overflowing room to watch the finished short films and encourage the young filmmakers. This community screening demonstrated the continued interest of the families of the Aylla Rewe Budi territory in the Mapuche Filmmaking School and the significance of their support of the young participants’ creative process. The energy in the room that night left us convinced that we will be back next year to continue sharing with you the adventures of this incredible project!

The training, coordination, research and logistics team,

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