The Documentalist

Chiapas Media Project Video Collection

Posted in Uncategorized by Sarah on October 28, 2009


The Chiapas Media Project (CMP) is a media activism group founded twelve years ago to supply media equipment and training to indigenous groups in southern Mexico so that they can document  and raise consciousness of the realities of their lives in a region that has experienced continuous political and social repression stemming from the Aguas Blancas massacre of 17 indigenous farmers on June 28, 1995 .  CMP forms a bi-national partnership with Promedios de Comunicacion Comunitaria, located in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas–an organization that provides local communities with access to equipment for editing and producing documentary films for local media distribution, and for sale as a means of supporting their mission.  As stated on the Chiapas Media Project homepage:

For many people who live in the developed world use of video cameras, VCR’s, TV’s, and computers is a daily occurrence. But when one speaks with indigenous peoples about access to this technology they say it is only a dream. For centuries outsiders have represented indigenous people and their cultures. Recently there has been an effort to get new communication technology into the hands of indigenous people so that they can represent themselves, with their own words and images. This is what the Chiapas Media Project (CMP)/Promedios is attempting to do in Southern Mexico.

For an example of the documentary materials they produce, see “Eye’s on What’s Inside: The Militarization of Gerrero,” on YouTube.  This 35 minute film provides a glimpse into the poor, subsistence agricultural lives of the Ma Phee of Barranca, Guerrero, as well as the challenges they face related to the constant presence of the Mexican military in their communities.  The purported purpose of the military is to monitor the area for narcotrafficing and the illegal production of marijuana and poppies for heroine (crops that some of these desperately poor farmers do produce), but the locals argue that the military’s real purpose is to suppress social resistance that call for equal treatment under the law.  The film contains footage of military personnel harassing citizens at a road-side check point, as well as documentary testimony from two local women who were sexually assaulted by members of the military, but are unable to take their cases to court.

The Chiapas Media Project has produced approximately 30 documentary films for sale as DVDs through their office in Chicago–see their on-line catalog for a full listing. Pricing is available for individual or institutional/library sale.  Several of the documentaries are entirely produced by community members, while the rest are the result of close collaborations between local human rights organizations and local community members.  Funds from purchases go to supporting local media activism efforts in southern Mexico.


One Response

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  1. J.Adolfo Alegría Gomez said, on April 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Hola que tal, saludos a todos los que integran esta sociedad de media project.
    soy originario de Ocozocoautlla de espinosa Chiapas,mi pregunta es a donde podria acudir para obtener capacitacion sobre videos y edicion para poder obtener registros de mi comunidad zoque sobre sus costumbres y tradiciones, gracias .

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