19 September 2017

Eyes of the Journey Alternative World Premier

September 21 is the alternative world premiere of a new film Eyes of the Journey, a visual poem in Quechua from director Rodrigo Otero Heraud and and producer Maya Tillmann Salas of Asociacion Cuyay Wasi in Peru. Several organizations, people who are interested, and cinema clubs in several countries around the world who will show the film on that day to spread the energy of the film around Mother Earth on the same day. The film is like a prayer in Quechua and its makers know it will have a magic effect. The film originates in Cusco, Peru, where it will be projected on the 21st to an audience of 600. Cusco is the home of the film's protagonist, the Quechua shaman Hipolito.

Eyes of the Journey is spoken entirely in Quechua. It was made to touch the hearts and minds of people, without any commercial pretensions. It is a film to affirm and encourage Andean culture and Andean people. Thinking also on a broader audience, the goal is to answer to the world´s need to see, feel and understand how nature in the form of Mother Earth can become a source of healing and further harmony. We are aware that the many problems mankind faces are not just climatic but social, and are due to the distance and barriers societies build from nature. It is right in the indigenous peoples we have a way to access another form of relationship with nature.

Through the film we want to open a window to life as a journey. This path is not visible to many, because nature's language consists in signs that could be almost imperceptible to us. Therefore, we used the character of the shaman Hipolito, who lends us his eyes and his wisdom so we are able to see this language of nature. He is The Eyes of the Journey, and through his eyes we will understand the way of our indigenous peoples.

The film is a way to: generate and move emotions that may help us reach harmony with Mother Earth; link the indigenous cultures worldwide; encourage the traditional peoples suffering from cultural loss; increase our knowledge about Andean peoples and their importance; improve the way we look at ourselves as diverse peoples; and promote the use of Quechua language in Peru.

Eyes of the Journey portrays the Andes and the spiritual aspects of its peoples. It is a homage filled with hope but at the same time a possible goodbye. It is a journey from the visible to the invisible, from the external world to the soul. With a oneiric and poetic language different ritual moments are shown. It starts with the first rains of the year, having a counterpoint between the stages of water and the stages of life. The character goes along the stream weaving a journey, sometimes reflecting, sometimes praying, sometimes showing the ways of the indigenous communities and their rituals to express their connection to life. Little by little a direction is found, a search for answers  that find a climax when the shaman reaches a sacred mountain. There they have a dialog where the Mountain reveals the illness humanity suffers.

When faced with the observation, "The hearts of people are becoming stone hard," the shaman Hippolito replies, "But even the stones has a heart. If it wasn´t for that, they would not shed their tears to give us to drink, to water the plants, to grow life. Then we must open our hearts to Mother Earth, despite our different beliefs or occupations. There is a knowledge in nature, there is wisdom and love in nature. There is everything we search for." After the dry season, new rains announce a new sowing of crops. The journey continues towards the sea, where the film ends, but also where everything starts over and over.

People who have seen previews of the film have noted that it is a "pilgrimage," a "continuous prayer," a "visual meditation and a poem, featuring "beautiful photography," and the "strength of the local landscape" that encourages a "return to the essence of the Andes" and the "way of the Apus" (mountain spirits). The films has also been termed a "message to the heart" and a "photographic essay on the natural light in the Andes."

The film's director, Rodrigo Otero Heraud, has followed the way of an author in filmaking. His work is based on what he considers transcendental matters, such as the ancient knowledge of traditional peoples and different approaches to spirituality and consciousness. To him filmmaking is about generating spiritual nourishment, therefore they are at the same time creative works and a form of service. His filmmaking is intimate, sensitive and with a cinematographic language of his own. He directs, shoots and edits, in order to print a personal seal in his works.

The main character, Hipolito Peralta Ccama, is a spiritual master from the Andean tradition, who works also as a schoolteacher in Cusco. He is a man with the soul of a poet, heir to an ancient tradition that is fading away. When he performs a ceremony, he puts all of his body and soul into it, knowing also that guiding and maintaining people’s feelings for Mother Earth is an uneven struggle, basically because of the spiritual deterioration of our times in which He will probably end up dissolving himself in hopelessness. Still He gives every spark of his fire for his mission and his vision, and takes every chance to touch and connect people's hearts, so we can realize that we are all here as voyagers, who will not take anything when we depart, so it is not riches we must collect, but seeds of love we must sow.

Hipolito is the axis of the film. He does this journey to different places of the Andes, in search for sacred mountains that could reveal the invisible story of what moves inside the spiritual world on Earth. This journey helps him feel and see how the distant brothers and sisters live in each community these days, and how are moral among the different peoples. He is a traveller looking for connections with water, mountains and people he finds along his way. Then he makes a diagnosis of Andean cultures and their possible outcome, as well as what is necessary to help life carry on.

[Readers can connect with Asociacion Cuyay Wasi and the filmmakers here and learn more about Eyes of the Journey.]

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