What is it?
Ambulante Beyond (AMA) is a training program for documentary production aiming to train new filmmakers coming from different corners from México and Central America who have limited access to the tools needed to share their stories with a wide audience. Through modular workshops, AMA promotes independent filmmaking to get these stories to be told from an own cultural and aesthetic perspective, not arising from the imposition of conventional film parameters.
The training area of Ambulante allows communities to recover and strengthen their identity, claim their rights, as well as break stereotypes and transform the negative social imaginaries. In addition to strengthening the community organization and participation through independent filmmaking, we work on the diffusion of works to exploit to the maximum its potential as a social transformation tool. We believe it is necessary to keep fighting for the democratization of the media and the self-representation of the excluded groups.
Currently, the fifth generation of students is composed by six women and ten men between 19 and 30 years old, from different municipalities of the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca: Ometepec, Cuajinicuilapa, Acapulco, Iguala de la Independencia and Iliatenco, Villa de Tututepec, Santiago Jamiltepec, San Pedro Amuzgos, Oaxaca de Juárez, Santa María Huazolotitlán, San Mateo del Mar, Juchitán de Zaragoza and San Pedro Pochutla.
“The students of the fifth generation of Ambulante Beyond are working on the development and research of the stories for their documentaries, which will be filmed in August and September, 2017.”
Throughout the month of July, students focus on the development and research of the stories, which go from rescuing the afro-descendant roots to violence in their communities, or even music. The filming will take place during the months of August and September and the screening will be scheduled in the Documentary Tour, between March and June, 2018.
For filming the documentaries, the youngsters receive guidance and feedback from more than twenty filmmakers and experts through modular workshops. The theoretical-practical training in each of these modules includes the different learning stages: script, direction, production, direct sound, sound design, photography, montage, edition and post-production. The workshops allow students to learn how to use the audiovisual tools and develop their creative and communication capabilities, as they familiarize themselves with the film language.
The fourth generation of Ambulante Beyond, the documentary training and production project of Ambulante, presented in Mexico City the six documentaries made throughout one year of training—four of them in their final cut and two works in progress. The grant trained students between 19 and 30 years old from Oaxaca and Guerrero. Ten women and ten men (Zapotec, Chatinos, Mixes, Amuzgos and mestizos) took the modular workshops and received mentoring from more than twenty filmmakers and artists, including Alfonso Díaz, Aurora Ojeda, Berenisse Vásquez, Carlos F. Rossini, Emiliano Altuna, Ernesto Pardo, Felipe Gómez, Gabriel Hernández, Laura Imperiale, Lucrecia Gutiérrez Maupomé, Luna Marán, Martha Uc, Pedro G, García, Pablo Fernández Murguía and Mariana Ochoa.
The documentaries were screened in the 2017 Ambulante Documentary Tour.
In the words of María Inés Roque, Training and Production Director of Ambulante, “the kids from the fourth generation of Ambulante Beyond manage to make a synchronous analysis of some of the subjects which should not be overlooked in the regional and national agenda: internal migration due to domestic and social violence, extreme poverty, and the permanent threat on the communities’ natural resources.”
The making of this new documentaries’ edition was possible thanks to the support of the following foundations: Banorte, Ford, McArthur, BBVA Bancomer and Casa Wabi.
We also extend our thanks to the sponsors of the students meeting in Mexico City—Café Monteabuelo, Restaurant El Bajío, Restaurant Jardín Chaputepec, Balboa Pizzeria, Fondeadora and Change.org—as well as to the venues in which the activities took place: Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco and Casa del Cine MX.
The stories addressed by the documentaries include that of an older woman who must emigrate from her community in Oaxaca due to community violence, the difficulty of finding relief for the religious leader (rezador) of an Amuzga community, a teen with diabetes, the journey of Chatina women to Mixe communities in search for temporary work, the different ways of assuming homosexuality in Costa Chica and the defense of a lagoon in Santa María Tonameca. “The complexity of Oaxaca, the desires and struggles of its inhabitants are the foreground and, at the same time, the background of these films,” Roque adds.