Cultural Agents: Video and Internet


Participants
: Tasha Hubbard (Canadá), Alexandra Halkin (USA), Sebastian Gerlic and Rubens Jesus Santos (Brasil), Divino Tserewahú, Xavante and Caimi Waiassé, Xavante (Brasil)

Moderator: Ruben Caixeta

Biographies

Tasha Hubbard is a writer, a teacher, and a documentary filmmaker. Her work focuses on social issues concerning Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan, including the multi-generational effects of residential school, the sex trade, resisting stereotypes, and the search for common ground between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples. Films co-directed with Doug Cuthand of Blue Hill Productions include the award-winning Circle of Voices, Childhood Lost, and Donna’s Story. Solo projects include a youth role model documentary called Strength of Spirit for school distribution and a housing crisis/homelessness video for the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology. Her latest directing project is produced by the National Film Board of Canada, working title Two Worlds Colliding. She has worked with the televised National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network live premiere broadcast, and several provincial award shows and performing arts shows. Most recently, she was co-stage director of the extremely successful "Gathering Our Artists" Gala Extravaganza, featuring many of the leading indigenous cultural performers from across Canada, including Gordon Tootoosis, Tantoo Cardinal, Michael Greyeyes, Lorne Cardinal, Thomson Highway, George Leach, Jennifer Podemski, and Andrea Menard.

Alexandra Halkin: Director of the Chiapas Media Project (USA), is an independent documentary producer and founder of the Chiapas Media Project. For centuries indigenous people and their cultures have been represented by people from the outside. In the past few years there has been an effort to get new communication technology into the hands of indigenous people so that they can represent themselves, with their own words and images. This is what the Chiapas Media Project (CMP) is attempting to do in Southern Mexico. In February of 1998, The CMP began as a result of conversations with autonomous Zapatista communities who were requesting access to video and computer technology. The Zapatistas, or Zapatista Army of National Liberation, are an indigenous movement made of up Tzotzil, Chol, Tojolabal, Mum and Tzeltal Mayan Indians. They became known to the world via the internet on January 1, 1994 when they staged an armed uprising and took over six towns in Chiapas demanding that indigenous rights be recognized in the Mexican constitution. Another demand was the formation of indigenous controlled TV and radio throughout Mexico. Since 1998 the CMP has been working as a bi-national partnership to indigenous and campesino (country) communities in Chiapas and Guerrero, Mexico, providing video and computer equipment and training. The emphasis has been in the area of video production. The Chiapas Media Project is currently distributing 16 indigenous productions worldwide.

Sebastián Gerlic: BA in Art, Cinematography, Photography and Journalism History in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He later studied video in Boston and New York. Since 1989 he has been working as an audiovisual professional. In 1999 he directed: ÍNDIOS, UMA HISTÓRIA PRESENTE (Liceu de Artes e Ofícios and Fundação Cultural do Governo do Estado da Bahia). In 2000: AOS MEUS IRMÃOS and KIRIRI, UM EXEMPLO NA TERRA (Fundação Cultural da Bahia). In 2004, he was awarded the 1st Place, National Category, of the prize Prêmio DOCTV (Ministério da Cultura, Fundação Padre Anchieta/TV Cultura) for IRMÃOS NO MUNDO, an average length documentary  (55 minutes). Since 2001 he has coordinated the project ÍNDIOS NA VISÃO DOS ÍNDIOS, which has already produced 7 books and the program ÍNDIOS ON-LINE (2004), which was chosen by Minc as "sete Pontos de Cultura Viva" (Seven points of living culture).

Rubens Jesus Santos (Kroatyn Kiriri): Vice-pajé of the Kiriri People, Bahia, in 2002, Kroatyn Kiriri participated in the Creative Expression Workshop in the Project INDIOS NA VISÃO DOS INDIOS, where he took many photographs, and wrote texts and newspaper stories using the non-Indian technology to make their cultures known. In 2003 he participated in the book KIRIRI and visited more than 10,000 schools in order to share his culture with the students. Since 2004 he has been collaborating with Marcelo Kiriri's Project INDIOS ON-LINE in the fight for the Kiriris' rights. "The Toré is a prayer: each song is a prayer that brings health to us. Every Saturday we have our ritual dance, which is attended by all the Indians – from the smallest one to the pajé, the chief, the counsellors – we all attend and ask God to protect our Toré, our strength."

Divino Tserewahú is 29 years old, a Xavante from the Sangradouro village (municipality of General Carneiro, Mato Grosso State), he follows the work initiated by his brother: for years, Divino registered mostly ceremonies for the village public. He participated in the production of "Indian Program" and his first work for a non Xavante audience was "Thank you brother, Divino narrates his initiation as a video maker. He was the leader of the collective production "Wapté Mnhono, The Xavante's initiation", which won awards in various festivals. Recently, Divino made alone two more documentaries about Xavante initiation rituals "Wai'a rini, the power of the dream" (2001) and "Trainee curator" (2003) and in 2002, he did a report about the Makuxi fight for their land demarcation "The struggle goes on!". Filmography: Indian Program 1, 2, 3, 4; Heparí Idub'radá – Thank You, Brother...; Wapté Mnhõnõ – The Xavante’s Initiation, Wai’à Rini; The power of the Dream, DARITIZÉ, Trainee curator of The struggle goes on!

Ruben Caixeta is an ethnologist who has studied the Waiwai People from the Guianas since 1990. He got his PhD in 1998 from the University of Paris X. He is a professor of Anthropology at the UFMG. He currently works in a collective project for the preservation and video documentation of a ritual from the Yecuana People in Brazil and Venezuela. He co-directs the FORUMDOC.BH – Festival do Filme Documentário e Etnográfico de Belo Horizonte (Documentary and Ethnographic Film Festival in Belo Horizonte).