Exposé Short Documentary, 2012

Somos Wichi (Argentina, 44 min)

Directed by Andrew Buckland

Produced by Andrew Buckland & Maria Azcue

Somos Wichi is a glimpse into the lives of a relatively unknown indigenous people known as the Wichi. Set in the Gran Chaco forest of northwestern Argentina, the Wichi are struggling to cope with the destructive effects of agricultural development, which is eradicating most of their traditional food sources. A number of characters lend their voices to the film: Roque, who is struggling to protect what little forest remains from wood poachers, Tiluc the shaman, who is trying to preserve and to pass on their traditional culture, and Karina, who is determined to give the children a basic education despite rampant discrimination at school. From their stories along with insights from two well respected anthropologists, Dr. John Palmer and Dr. Morita Carrasco who work with the Wichi, a picture begins to develop that reveals a people living under great hardship and yet, for the moment, are still able to maintain their unique identity and strength of character. This character is what the Wichi call Husek and anthropologists describe as goodwill, a quality that emphasizes balance and avoids conflict. Often misunderstood by the non-indigenous society that surrounds them, the Wichi are seen as having little value. Somos Wichi, however, invites the viewer to see them differently.

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