May 29, 2014
On May 17, director Hernan Vilchez, producer Paola Stefani, cinematographer José Andrés Solorzano and the Ramirez Wixárika family, featured in the documentary, and the whole production team were already in Real de Catorce, Wirikuta preparing for the world premiere of the documentary, Huicholes, the Last Peyote Guardians.
After a press conference in the courtyard of the Hotel El Ángel y el Corazón, with the sun setting over the desert, all those present walked to the Alameda, facing the old Pantheon of Real de Catorce, where the movie was projected in a theater with 300 chairs and a giant screen in the middle of the poplar trees. Local people and visitors from all latitudes made up approximately five hundred spectators. The screening of the film took place in a festive and relaxed atmosphere in which popcorn, hot coffee and sweet bread were distributed. It was a night of peaceful coexistence generating awareness.
The next day the film crew came to Estación Catorce in the desert lowlands of Wirikuta. On 18 May, in a warm and starry night, the second function “Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians” played in the main square of the small town, attended by over 500 people. This time the film crew was accompanied by Hector Guerra, musician and member of Aho Collective. This time the audience consisted exclusively of local residents of the communities of the municipality of Catorce. For the production of the documentary this fact is very encouraging, since one of the objectives of the film is to get information to those most directly involved, who are living Wirikuta. Present were inhabitants of Santa María del Refugio, Tanque de Arenas, Tanque de Dolores, Carretas, Wadley, Estación Catorce, Guadalupe Carnicero, El Salto y Anexos, La Palma, Cañada, Poblazón, La Pila, San Cristobal, Los Catorce, Mastranto, Las Adjuntas, Vigas, San José de Coronados, Las Margaritas, San Antonio Coronados and Refugio de Coronados.
On May 20, finally the independent film “Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians” reached San Andrés Cohamiata, the homeland of the protagonists: the Wixárika Ramirez family. It was in this community where three years before, the community elders met in Assembly and decided to assign Director Hernan Vilchez with the task of making the documentary about the fight to protect Wirikuta, one of the five sacred lands of the Wixárika People.
After a quiet afternoon, the film crew began to assemble a large screen from the production house La Maroma in the central square of San Andrés. To open the projection José Luis “Katira” Ramírez, the marakame who is the film’s main protagonist, gave a welcome speech in the Wixárika language and the film crew thanked the public for their presence. Soon 500 people from the communities of San Miguel, San Andres, San Jose, Carrizal, Cohamiata, La Laguna Seca, Las Guayabas, Pitaya, Chalate and Cebolleta were gathered here. Vilchez, Stefani, Solorzano and the entire launch team had fulfilled one of the main objectives of the feature documentary: to bring broad, comprehensive and top quality information on all aspects of the Wirikuta case to the Sierra Madre Occidental, home territory of the Wixarika People.
The next day the Tour Caravan “Five Colors of Corn, Five Functions,” which had grown to include 33 people, of which 18 are Wixaritari, departed for the city of Guadalajara for the fourth free screening on May 22 at 8 pm.
On May 22 around 6 p.m. the line to enter the feature film “Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians” at the Cine Foro, of the University of Guadalajara, was nearly a block long. At 8 p.m. nearly 800 people expected to be among the lucky 443 (the maximum capacity of the forum) that could get in to see the documentary.
With the Cine Foro filled to the brim, Maraakame José Luis “Katira” Ramirez took the stage along with his extended family, featured in the documentary, and director Hernan Vilchez, producer Paola Stefani and cinematographer José Andrés Solorzano. This time the director and producer were silent. It was Katira who opened the projection with a ceremony to thank the deities and ask permission and blessings.
The screening proceeded with sustained public interest. Meanwhile, the 400 people who could not enter for lack of space waited patiently outside the Cine Foro for some miracle that would allow them to enter the room.
The end of the “Five Colors of Corn, Five Functions” tour opened on May 24 in Mexico City at 8 p.m. at the Monument to the Mother with a free public screening. In this role, despite the torrential rain that began about 7 pm, was attended by over 2,000 people who waited standing under umbrellas for the screening of “Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians.” At about 8:30, without the rain stopping, Secretary of Culture of the City of Mexico Eduardo Vázquez, Producer Paola Stefani, Marakame José Luis “Katira” Ramirez and his family, Director Hernan Vilchez and Cinematographer José Andrés Solorzano took the stage to introduce the film. At the end of the screening the excited audience gave a standing ovation.
We can say that this tour was very successful launch. In the pre-screening before Mexico City, the film was seen by 2,100 people, not counting the 400 who remained outside the Cine Foro in Guadalajara. If we add these numbers to the 2,500 who gathered on the 24th at the Monument to the Mother in Mexico City, during the most intense rainfall so far this year, we can say that the film was seen at launch for about 4,600 persons in the eight-day tour, which took in three Mexican states, in five different locations.
Here we share the video tour produced by photographer José Andrés Solorzano.← BackNext →