Located on the coast of the state of Michoacán, Santa Maria Ostula, like many other indigenous communities in Mexico, suffered great violence from organized crime. The citizens lost their land to cartels and businesses wanting to exploit their natural resources. They suffered greatly from intimidation and violence. Some were killed. Many leaders of the community decided to move away.
In 2009, a group of Ostula’s citizens decided to reclaim some of the land that organized crime and local leaders with the help of the government had taken. They founded the town of Xayakalan. However, by 2011, the community experienced a steep increase in violence. Over the next 3 years, most of the citizens were forced to leave Xayakalan because of the violence, disappearances and murders that ensued.
This all changed in 2014, when a large group of citizens returned to Xayakalan with armed self-defense groups from Michoacán. Mexican citizens are forbidden from carry firearms, yet the Mexican Constitution grants self-defense rights to indigenous communities. The citizens were ready to fight to guarantee their security. Now able to defend themselves, the community reclaimed their land and began reconstruction of their village.
Recovering Paradise documents the armed resistance of the indigenous Santa Maria Ostula community and their struggle to reestablish law and order in their homeland.
FESTIVALS AND AWARDS
Winner Best Documentary – 2017 International Indigenous Film Festival (FICWALLMAPU)
Winner “Cuenca Award” – 2018 Cinema Planeta Film Festival, Cuernavaca, Mexico
2018 Ambulante Coordenadas, Mexico
2018 Cinema Planeta, International Environmental Film Festival of Mexico
Honorable Mention 2018 International Documentary Film Festival in Memory of Santiago Alvarez – Santiago de Cuba
2018 The Hispanic Meeting of Independent Documentary Film and Video: Against the Silence, All the Voices
2018 Latin American Film Festival of Montréal
Debut Feature – 2017 - International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City
Official Selection 2017 International Festival Signs of the Night, Urbino Italy
2017 Stockholm Independent Film Festival
2017 Meet The Docs! Film Festival, Forli Italy
José Arteaga is a filmmaker. He has focused on documenting social and environmental movements and events, as well as various types of music and the performing arts throughout Mexico. Recently he has worked on experimental videos and created “video-dances.”
Rafael Camacho is a filmmaker and independent journalist. He has covered social conflicts for several years. Rafael has a career in feature films, television and commercials as an art director.
Catalog # EPF16014; ISBN 978-1-933724-53-9, NTSC
72 Minutes; Copyright 2017; Spanish, English Subtitles
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