|OME: TALES FROM A VANISHING HOMELAND|
(OME: Historias De Una Selva En Desaparicon)
|Director: Raul Paz Pastrana|
United StatesEcuador, 2013, 29min
Format: Digital (screening) - HD (shooting)
Festival Year: 2018
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|Winner: BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY - DOCUMENTARY SHORT|
|Crew: ||Producers: Raul Paz Pastrana, Emily Parkey - Screenwriters: Raul Paz Pastrana - Editor: Raul Paz Pastrana - Cinematography: Raul Paz Pastrana, Ralf Kracke-Berndorff - Co-Producer: Luminita Cuna, David Bartecchi, Ralf Kracke-Berndorff - Original Music: Noah Bates, Geovanni Suquillo - Story Consultant: Michel Negroponte
Filmed in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon in the Yasuni biosphere, "OME: Tales From a Vanishing Homeland" offers incredible access to the unique and ancient way of life of the Huaorani, one of Ecuador's most isolated indigenous groups. OME explores the intricacies of the Huaorani way of life, highlighting their connection to land and family, while raising questions about their future survival as oil companies encroach upon Ome, their homeland. OME has won multiple awards and was funded by the Princess Grace Foundation-USA and the Hispanic Scholarship fund.
Raúl Paz Pastrana is a Mexican-Immigrant filmmaker and cinematographer whose cinematic style melds visual anthropology with cinema verité. His films, which focus on indigenous and immigrant rights, have screened in festivals worldwide, including the Sheffield Doc/Fest in the U.K, DOCSDF (DocsMx) in Mexico City and at the Ethnografilm Festival in Paris France. He is a Princess Grace Awards recipient and a Tribeca Film Institute All Access Program recipient. Recently he was a fellow for the Film Society of Lincoln Center Artist Academy at the 2016 NYFF54 in NYC and received the 2017 Art Matters and Jerome Foundation Artist Residency at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France.
Raúl graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2012 where he received the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award for exceptional achievement in social documentary Film. Currently he is working on his first feature film "BORDER SOUTH/FRONTERA SUR," a gripping story that documents the lives of Central and South American migrants as they cross through Mexico and has received support from the Jerome Foundation and the Undocumented Migration Project.
Alumni Website Filmography
"OME: Tales From a Vanishing Homeland" introduces viewers to a hidden part of the Yasuni Rainforest Reserve, deemed the “Wildest Place on Earth” in the January 2013 edition of National Geographic. Rarely visited by outsiders, the film not only captures the unique lifestyles of the indigenous Huaorani who inhabit the Reserve, but their interactions with the diverse plant and animal species that they depend upon for their survival.
The original intention with “OME” was to make an ethnographic, direct cinema documentary film, in which we observe the Huaorani in an almost anthropological way. As we were filming, however, the Huaorani began using GPS devices to map their traditional land in order to challenge the oil companies’ drilling plans, shifting the film’s focus to one of cultural survival and political empowerment.
“OME” appeals widely to general audiences, many of whom may have heard of the Ecuadorian president’s recent appeals for millions of dollars in international aid to prevent drilling within Huaorani territory in the Yasuni. I believe “OME” is of particular interest to audiences who are concerned with the environment, human rights, and indigenous issues as the film highlights the human, environmental, and cultural costs of drilling on protected land. Additionally the film appeals to younger adult audiences who stand to inherit the issue of rainforest deforestation and the question of survival not only of the rainforest, but of those who call it home.
Furthermore, the film is told entirely from the perspective of our main Huaorani characters. This documentary style in which community members are empowered to tell their own story deviates from the style used by most documentaries and media reports about the area, which are driven by the testimonies of American attorneys, environmentalists, academics, and public officials. Past films on the subject have portrayed the Huaorani as violent, but “noble savages.” This film however depicts the Huaorani as experts in charge of their own story, as they use modern computers and gps devices in the fight to protect their homeland.