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* Winner: Best Environmental Film - We the Peoples Film Festival, London, U.K.
* Winner: First Prize - Festival Internacional de Cine Invisible, Bilbao, Spain
* Winner: Golden Reel Humanitarian Award - Tiburón International Film Festival
* Winner: Global Conscience Award - Mexico City Documentary Film Festival
* Top Ten Most Popular Canadian Films: Vancouver International Film Festival
* Nominated for Best Documentary - Hamburg International Independent Film Festival
* Nominated for Coral Award - Best Documentary - Havana Film Festival
* Official Selection: Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Victoria Film Festival, Sudbury International Film Festival, Watch Docs Warsaw, Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Encuentros del Otro Cine - Quito, Boulder International Film Festival and many more…
In a remote mountain valley in Ecuador, coffee and sugarcane farmers face the dismal prospect of being forced off their land to make way for a mining project. Unprotected by the police and ignored by their government, they prepare to face down the invaders on their own. Their resistance ultimately leads to a remarkable and dangerous stand off between farmers and a band of armed paramilitaries deep in the cloud forest. In a world dominated by news of massacres and terrorism, Under Rich Earth is a surprising and poignant tale of hope and determination.
¿Qué pasa cuando una compañía minera virtualmente desconocida recauda millones de dólares en Toronto para financiar un proyecto en Ecuador, el cual campesinos locales están determinados a frenar? ¿Hasta dónde irá la compañía para imponer su visión de progreso y obtener ganancias? Bajo Suelos Ricos cuenta la historia de un extraordinario choque entre familias campesinas y la poderosa industria minera global. En un remoto valle en Ecuador, campesinos se enfrentan con la posibilidad de serán forzados a dejar sus tierras fértiles para abrir camino a un proyecto minero. Determinados a defender la tierra que ha sido colonizada por sus abuelos, ellos se unen y arriesgan sus vidas para detener la compañía minera. Su resistencia los lleva a un histórico enfrentamiento con un bando de paramilitares armados y escondidos en el bosque nublado. Apasionado y provocativo, Bajo Suelos Ricos trae las voces críticas de las personas cuyas comunidades estándivididas por fuerzas globales.
Mining Companies Prohibited - Junín, Ecuador
The Intag valley of Ecuador is a lush and fertile paradise inhabited by strong-willed and resourceful family farmers. Three generations of families have carved out a hard but good life in this remote frontier. While they don’t earn much cash for their work, they own rich land, which is the greatest security for their children and for future generations. Their land, forests and crystal clear mountain streams are invaluable—they will protect them at all costs.
Under Rich Earth is a feature length documentary that follows family farmers in the Intag valley who resist what they consider to be the invasion of their land by foreign prospectors. Víctor, Rosario, Robinson, Marcia and Carlos are among hundreds of people who join together to stop outsiders from transforming their beloved valley into what a Canadian mining company says will inevitably become a ‘world class’ copper mine. Facing the prospect of losing their precious land and forests, the farmers are ready to give up their lives. But is their conviction matched by the tenacity of those who want to undermine them?
Over three years, the company attempts to win over the hearts and minds of the communities with offerings of development and jobs. The promise of development through mining has bitterly divided the community between people who support the company and those who are adamantly against it. Local leaders opposed to the mining project evoke the spirit of the Inca warrior Rumiñahui who resisted the Spanish conquistadores in the 1500s. The project’s supporters say the company will bring benefits like roads and schools.
The company assures its investors that only a small group of radicals and meddling foreigners oppose the project; but on the ground, a profoundly different story emerges. Coffee growers become pawns in a Machiavellian strategy of divide and conquer. Lurkers sabotage a community radio station. Rogue police push an outspoken leader of the opposition into hiding. As the company tries to get its exploration project going, the tension between pro-mining mineros and anti-mining ecologistas reaches a breaking point.
With a change of government looming and nationalists poised to take power, the company takes extreme measures to get its men on the ground. Roving bands of men armed with tear gas, pistols and attack dogs force their way past makeshift community checkpoints. But the villagers don’t back down, and the crisis culminates in an extraordinary and potentially lethal confrontation between farmers and armed paramilitaries high in the cloud forest. The remarkable incident attracts national and international press and suddenly, the tiny remote village of Junin is thrust into the spotlight. Back in Canada, the company insists that their copper project will go ahead in spite of the local opposition and they successfully raise millions of dollars on the Toronto Stock Market.
Under Rich Earth was Directed and Produced by Malcolm Rogge
“Malcolm Rogge’s film is a rare example of a socially engaged documentary free of ideological vitriol that manages to raise your spirits” - WatchDocs, Poland
“Urgent and vital filmmaking in the spirit of favourites like Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance and Manufactured Landscapes.”
- Jesse Wente, CBC
“A fascinating glimpse into corporate spin and the politics of globalization…”
- Human Rights Watch
“A remarkable documentary…”
- Critic’s Choice, TIME OUT, London
“A riveting story of community conflict…”
- Critic’s Pick, NOW Magazine, Toronto