- Anthropology, Social Issues, Culture, Foreign Worlds, and Personal Doc
Los Con Voz documents current efforts in the Southern Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas to produce what social scientists have dubbed â€œindigenous mediaâ€.
A pacifist group of radio engineers travel days to man the transmitter cabin in the hills of Chiapas, providing the surrounding communities with information about current events, family health, and national politics. An archaeologist in Massachusetts explains how his field has changed throughout the twentieth century. And an international film festival brings together visionaries from twenty-three countries including a girl from Finland searching for love and a Cree man working to keep his peoplesâ€™ oral history alive.
These stories illustrate the complexities of the indigenous experience today while at the same time they promote the universality of the human spirit. Through it all we find the undeniable desire to speak and be heard.
- Show treatment
Popular representations of the worldâ€™s indigenous groups are highly biased, rooted in colonial stereotypes, and perpetuated by a lack of understanding of indigenous life. Even today we remain satisfied with the noble savages and bloodthirsty warriors of Merian Cooper, Walt Disney, and Mel Gibson.
Anthropologists and other social scientists have historically had a dirty hand in this satisfaction, scientifically justifying colonialism and making their careers on (mis) representing entire populations of people.
As an anthropology student, I started to feel the weight of this history very early on in my studies. In class discussions I often would come out in opposition to the methods used by the researchers that we studied. In 2005 I interned for an organization called The Chiapas Media Project in Southern Mexico and began to learn about what had been dubbed â€œindigenous mediaâ€ by the social scientists studying it. I met a number of anthropologists in Mexico that were engaging in what has been called activist anthropology or public anthropology. Essentially, they were using the discipline to directly benefit those that they studied. One interesting way anthropologists have begun to do this is to teach video/film making skills and let people present themselves instead of representing for them. Furthermore, videos allow communities or individuals to distribute information to large numbers of people rather than highly focused and insular groups of academics. Images and sounds are much more consumable to a wider population than texts.
Los Con Voz highlights efforts intended to counteract the negative effects of bad social science and postcolonial subjugation through the creation of â€œindigenous mediaâ€. Through interviews with indigenous filmmakers, media activists and anthropologists; as well as watching indigenous videos and discussing current projects and efforts, we follow the emergence of a new movement of cooperation and hope in which academics and indigenous groups can work together in revitalizing each othersâ€™ cultures.
- Running time
- 55 minutes
- Jeff Arak ... Director/Producer/Editor
- Prod. Co.
- On This Earth
- Years of Production
- Oaxaca, Chiapas, Mexico. Waltham, MA, USA.
- Prod. Partners
- Brandeis University
- Release year
- "Ownership and Appropriation," University of Auckland, New Zealand, 2008 International Festival of Ethnographic Film, Quebec, Canada, 2009 Muestra de Cine Documental y Etnografico, Puerto Rico, 2009 Days of Ethnographic Film, Slovenia, 2009
- Documentary Educational Resources
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