Southern Hemispheres

Montevideo, Uruguay – As friends, family and colleagues celebrate the first bright offerings of spring in the north, here in the southern hemisphere we are heading deep into fall. And with the change in seasons we pause for a moment of reflection and to share an update on production of our documentary AFRO URUGUAY: FORWARD TOGETHER (for folks new to the project, check out a clip and overview here).

We landed on December 17, 2012 and have been working the long days of summer in the south to their fullest. It has been a terrific and eventful season here in Montevideo with more than a dozen shoot days in Montevideo, Canelones, Atlántida, Melo and Durazno. Below is a map with the points of production highlighted. Click through and check it out.


We have been blessed with great contacts and generous hosts throughout.

Here are some highlights from the road:

December 19, 2012
December 19, 2012

Thousands gathered in the heart of Montevideo to affirm the human rights of all and to protest the racially charged beating of a woman of African descent in Uruguay five days earlier. According to many, it was the largest racial justice protest in modern memory.

Affirmation
Affirmation

One of the thousands of protestors on the streets of Montevideo to say no to racism and “I love my kinky hair! Long live people of African descent!”

Elizabeth Suárez
Elizabeth Suárez

Mate in hand, outside of the Casa de la Cultura Afrouruguaya, Elizabeth Suárez prepares to meet up with family and friends in support of Tania Ramírez, an Afro Uruguayan activist who was preparing to testify before a judge in a case of racial violence that has sparked an intense debate in Uruguay.

Sergio Ortuño
Sergio Ortuño

Prepping for a day´s shoot. Producer/Director Pam Harris mics up Sergio Ortuño, a master candombe teacher and the founder of Triangulación Kultural. The organization is using candombe to connect and engage marginalized communities in Parisian suburbs and rural Uruguay.

Canelones, Uruguay
Canelones, Uruguay

Producer Carolina De Robertis leads an interview with Sergio Ortuño at his home in Canelones, just outside of Montevideo.

In the field: Canelones
In the field: Canelones

Live action shooting with Sergio Ortuño and Manu Brun on the streets of Canelones.

Canelones
Canelones

Producers Pamela Harris and Carolina De Robertis prepare for an interview in Canelones, Uruguay with Emmanuel (Manu) Brun, the coordinator of Triangulación Kultural in France.  You can see a video of him here on Youtube promoting a festival coming up in July 2013 in Paris.

 

 

Ramón Farías: Two Generations
Ramón Farías: Two Generations

The production team was hosted in Melo, a small town near the border with Brazil, by Ramón Farías Sr. (left) and Ramón Farías Jr. (right) to Melo. We were able to take part in many wonderful conversations in community spaces and private homes alike.

Babe in Arms
Babe in Arms

Ramón Farías as an infant in the arms of his mother, who was born into slavery in Brazil. After slavery ended in Brazil in 1888, she crossed the border into Uruguay to start a new life and family. Señor Farías was generous in sharing memories and photos from his personal collection with our crew.

Drums at The Fire: Carnival Season
Drums at The Fire: Carnival Season

A street fire fed by cardboard and wood scraps warms and prepares the skins of  candombe drums in preparation for a comparsa rehearsal on the streets of Barrio Sur in Montevideo.

Atlántida Llamadas
Atlántida Llamadas

Dancer Johanna Ba, a native of France, dances with a racially mixed comparsa in the llamadas in Atlántida, a small costal town northeast of Montevideo. Each comparsa (group in the llamadas) features flag bearers, dancers, and scores of candombe drummers. The llamadas (the calls) were traditionally a part of urban culture and drum contingents used their powerful sound to call each other across city blocks.

A thousand thanks as always to our many supporters – donors and volunteers! We certainly would not be here and able to do this work without your generous donations of time and money.

We hope to have another update for you again in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below, give us a shout on our facebook page, or write to us directly at contact(at)irisfilms(dot)org.

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4 Responses to Southern Hemispheres

  1. Emma A Johnson says:

    You guys make me so proud I want to cry. You are doing important work, when the spotlight is pointed in one direction, the reflection becomes worldwide. what we learn about the Afro population in Uruguay will help the worldwide population. keep sending these updates, I love them.

  2. Pamela says:

    Thanks so much for your kind and insightful reply, Emma! We very much hope that the film can help us deepen our understanding of the African diaspora in the Americas. We have so much to learn from particular cultural experiences – as they help us deepen our understanding of the world and also help us reflect on our own experience.

  3. sujin says:

    This update is so beautiful. I’m so moved to see the first glimpses of the fruit of your labors. Your amazing spirits infuse the images and stories.

  4. Pamela says:

    Thanks so much, sujin. We are constantly inspired by the people we are meeting here in Uruguay, and, as always, remain inspired by supporters like you. Thank you!