UNDER RICH EARTH - A NEW DOCUMENTARY ON THE MINING CONFLICT
Bajo Suelos Ricos (Under Rich Earth), a new documentary on the mining conflict in Intag, will premiere this September at the Toronto Film Festival in Canada. This is the latest in a long list of films inspired by the conflict between local residents and extractive industries in Ecuador. Previous films include La Ruta del Cobre (The Copper Route), Ser Inteño (To Be From Intag), Es un Monstro Grande y Pisa Fuerte (It’s a Huge Monster and Steps Down Hard, a line from the lyrics of a protest song, Sólo le pido a Dios, which loses a lot in the translation), Entre Gallos y Media Noche (Under Cover of Night), and Cuando Se Aclaren las Nubes (When the Clouds Clear).
Filmmaker Malcolm Rogge reviewed hundreds of photos and documents on the mining conflict before his first visit to Intag in 2006. On his initial trip, he interviewed local people in order to decide whether a documentary would be feasible. For the Canadian filmmaker, Intag’s struggle hit close to home. The mining company involved, Ascendant Copper, is based in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and its stocks are sold on the Toronto Stock Exchange. “The conflict in Intag is emblematic of how Canadian companies operate abroad,” commented Mr. Rogge, noting that Canadian companies do business in every country in South America.
Previews of the film were held in Junin on May 11th, at the Universidad de Otavalo (Otavalo University) on May 15th, and at the Casa de las Culturas (Multi-cultural House) in Cotacachi on May 16. The final version of the documentary will debut at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival this September and will later air on television.
Early reviews have been good. One Junín resident commented that the documentary presented the views of both anti-mining activists and miners, although she felt that Ascendant Copper’s Executive President, Francisco Veintimilla, was “lying through his teeth.” Mr. Rogge also mentioned that he received constructive feedback from Leonardo Alvear, President of the Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal (Assembly for County Unity; Spanish acronym, AUC).
Malcolm Rogge lives in Toronto, Canada. He first travelled to Ecuador in 1996 to work on oil issues in the Amazon as a volunteer with the NGO Acción Ecológica (Ecology in Action). In 1998, he returned to work with the Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales (Center for Economic and Social Rights; Spanish acronym, CEDES).
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UNDER RICH EARTH: A NEW DOCUMENTARY ON THE MINING CONFLICT
Written by José Rivera
Tuesday, 02 September 2008