A report by Kristen Lopez for Remezcla.
The culture and history associated with indigenous language speakers is vast, and yet when an indigenous speaker enters popular culture it reminds us how little we know about them. During the 2019 Latin American and the Caribbean Week, the UNESCO headquarters worked with several Latin American and Caribbean countries to put on an Online Indigenous Film Festival in collaboration with the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019. More than 80 films produced from filmmakers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean were released on the International Year of Indigenous Languages website, social media channels, and UNESCO’s YouTube channel, both in Spanish and the film’s original indigenous languages with subtitles in both English and Spanish.
Ten to fifteen films a day were released, from shorts to features, around a specific theme such as education, cultural heritage, and women. UNESCO hopes the online film festival will allow for a greater understanding of indigenous languages “and their associated thought systems” and how valuable a source of information they are.
Festivals like this do a great job toward helping audiences consume films they wouldn’t ordinarily. Unlike a physical film fest, online events can let people more readily access films from the comfort of their homes. As the event website lays out, there are such a range of indigenous languages that people aren’t even aware of. It’ll be wonderful to have a steady stream of these films available to help educate us all.