In Tepoztlán, México, a tightly-knit community struggles to resist the erosion of its traditions, centered as they are on the practice of cuatequitl, communal work. For countless generations, the inhabitants of the Barrio de Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz neighborhood) have — together — cultivated a cornfield belonging to the patron saint of the church. The process is rich in ritual and celebration, a true display of abundance and generosity.
Through the course of an agricultural cycle, we follow key characters through the day-to-day rhythms of community life — work, common activities and myriad fiestas — to explore the joys and the challenges faced by the community. The elders, holders of the old ways, are treasures that are quickly disappearing, the youth are migrating north or losing interest in the old ways, and the land’s native corn is being substituted by toxic hybrid seed.
Will the community ethic help its inhabitants resist the increasing threats of violence and migration produced by the lack of opportunities?
Will people come to value their native corn against the stronger but dangerous hybrid varieties?
Will the young people return and take their rightful place as holders of the traditions?
Advance of the project
Production phase is practically finished. For two years I filmed the cornfield and the full range of the barrio’s traditions. I have done all this work by my own means because I believe that this story needs to be told. This film is a vital document for the preservation and honoring of the stories, images and sounds of a generation that is departing and taking with it a whole way of life and it also addresses critical themes for those who grow corn in Mexico and those of us who eat it.
The next step is to create a trailer of the project, and to seek financial support for the postproduction phase.
Santa Cruz is one of the places where I have seen how generosity and selflessness breed abundance, where I have witnessed the joy and connection brought by working together towards a common goal. I have seen how that experience of community helps people face daily challenges, and I have been inspired by their example of what is possible when people organize themselves, together.
Every donation will take us a step closer to make this dream a reality.