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‘On the Ice’ Director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean Visits Bogota

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Director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean before a Q&A with students at Ciudad Bolivar. Photo by Jennifer Prediger.

Andrew Okpeaha MacLean

Just finished two days of screenings in Bogotá. Despite some technical difficulties with the projections, they were really successful. We met with a group of indigenous filmmakers yesterday. They only got to see half the film before we talked, but the discussion was still very valuable.

The indigenous people of Colombia are still locked in a life and death struggle for their land and basic human rights, and they’ve embraced film and video as an essential tool in that fight. Most of them are focused on documentary, but a few were talking about narrative/fiction-based projects.

We screened at a cinematheque in downtown Bogotá last night. In a perfect example of how small the filmmaking world is, Andres Martinez, the composer for Sikumi (the short that On the Ice is based on) was there. He’s Colombian and moved back to Bogotá from New York several years ago. He’s a great guy and an extremely talented musician and composer. I was very happy to reconnect with him.

And then today we drove out to Ciudad Bolivar, one of Bogotá’s poorer districts for a screening at a local community center. The audience there was full of teenagers. Andres was with us, and we screened Sikumi for them as well as On the Ice. The discussion afterwards was one of the best we’ve had. They seemed to connect strongly with the film, and asked very astute questions. It was a very positive atmosphere. Nobody really seemed to want to leave after the screening was over. We hung around and took photos and talked for a while with the kids and with the local organizers. But the embassy told us we had to leave before it got dark, because the area can be dangerous at night.

I hope the rest of the trip goes as well.

Read Part 2 of Andrew’s journey here.

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

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