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Girls’ Voices Day 4: Lucrecia, Imelda and Neydelin learn how to think like a producer and act like a director

Day four of the Girls Voices pilot took place in Chirijox, Guatemala, a village 1.5 hours away from Panajachel. We set out to support three girls with their films.

Lucrecia wanted to be our guide and production coordinator for the day, and showed us around town, expertly navigating to each girl’s house.

Jaqueline giving some Imelda and her sister some camera tips

Jacqueline giving some Imelda and her sister some camera tips

She first took us to Imelda’s home that she shares with her extended family, a small abode that was built after an earthquake destroyed their original house.  Imelda’s theme was “a day in my life,” and from the onset, it was clear that her life is difficult. Imelda had a very clear vision of how she wanted her video to go, and her older sister joined to help translate from the indigenous language K’iche to Spanish. First, Imelda directed us to film as she helped prepare the food, cleaned around the house, and fed the animals. She then led us up a steep mountain to a specific look-out point to capture her favorite view of the town.  As she filmed the panorama and zoomed in on the corn husks and the valley below, the paradox of Chirijox became stunningly simple: gorgeous, but very, very impoverished.

We then went to support Lucrecia, whose theme was “poverty.” From day one she also had a very specific vision: to film the kids in her neighborhood who struggle, those who have less than she has.

“Estos niños viven sin zapatos, sin ropa, sin comida. (These kids live without shoes, without clothes, without food.)”  

Three generations of strong women

Three generations of strong women

In order to interview them and film them playing, she knew she had to think like a producer and act like a director.  Which she did, without hesitation. She formulated the interview questions and even got the kids each a ball and candy as a thank you for participating. As we were leaving, she asked to keep the camera overnight so to capture the image of a woman who doesn’t have water, a very important image to share with the world so that the world is aware of the reality of having limited access to the most essential resources.

Finally, we went to visit Neydelin, who wanted to film a story on the importance of weaving traditional, hand-made indigenous clothing so as to share her customs with the world. Neydelin wanted to convey that education is not just what you learn in school, it is what you learn from your family, from your customs, and from your traditions. Her whole family was very excited to have us there, and all at once began discussing why preserving traditional indigenous weaving is important to each of them. Neydelin filmed her mother weaving using the telar de cintura (waist loom) and interviewed her about how she wove the clothing she was wearing. She then called her sister to film so that she could be in the shot with her mother. As we left, her mother gave us a piece of fabric she made as a thank you gift, expressing how excited she was to attend the community screening and how grateful their whole family was for the video workshop.

Neydeline with the camera

Neydelin with the camera

Throughout the day, we observed how each of the girls navigated bringing the images from their storyboard to life. We watched them make precise filmmaker choices about how they wanted to convey their lives, handling the camera with ease, framing each shot with confidence.  We saw them link their present lives to their future opportunities through the lens of education and family.

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