It’s been exactly one year since we landed in Uruguay, two small kids in tow, ready to launch the documentary AFRO URUGUAY: FORWARD TOGETHER with the generous support of 145 incredible Kickstarter backers, generous individual donors, and a Fulbright Fellowship.
What an incredible year it’s been since then. We’ve shot footage of everything from racial justice protests to intimate interviews to dancing and drumming on the streets. We’ve presented about our project, by invitation, in venues ranging from a rural community center in northern Uruguay to a range of television and radio shows to Montevideo’s City Hall. Above all, we’ve listened to and explored people’s stories as they’ve unfolded on the ground here in Uruguay. You can get a small taste of these journeys in this slideshow we posted earlier this year:
We’re thrilled to say that, after casting a wide net, we’ve honed in on a single story, one that offers a very personal portrait of life in a historic neighborhood, the lingering effects of the displacement suffered by Afro Uruguayans under the dictatorship, the realities of everyday racism, courage in the face of startling violence, an extraordinary friendship, an unexpected personal transformation, and the abiding power of activism.
It’s been a profoundly transformative year in this nation of three million people. Just last week, Uruguay entered the global spotlight when it became the first country in the world to legalize the sale and cultivation of marijuana, with an eye toward combating the social violence of the drug trade. Yes, that’s big news. But, this year, Uruguay also upheld it’s legal abortion law, legalized gay marriage, and, most significantly to our project, passed landmark affirmative action legislation to address the racial inequity still faced by Afro Uruguayans.
In other words, 2013 has been a whirlwind. We’re on fire and full of hope.
On that note, we’ve decided to stay on here for six more months, past the completion of Pamela’s Fulbright Fellowship. This means that, if you’ve been promised a T-shirt, it won’t come till late 2014. We’re sorry about that – really! – but also hope you’ll agree that the wait is worth our being able to thoroughly wrap production and move into the editing phase with the footage and access we need to make the best film we possibly can — a film worthy of the trust that’s been placed in us by the community here…and by you.
To all those who have given – whether funds or words of encouragement – again, with all our hearts, THANK YOU. For supporting us, for standing with us, for saying yes to the voices of Afro Uruguay. This project continues to be an all-volunteer, grassroots effort. And it simply would not be happening without you.
We wish you a joyous holiday, and a phenomenal year to come.
P.S. If you should find yourself moved to make a new or additional tax-deductible donation to our project, however small, you can do so here on the Iris Films website at http://www.irisfilms.org/donate/. As we said, this is still an all-volunteer, grassroots project, and every dollar absolutely counts. Thanks and love!