"Brilliant Soil" film screening
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
| 6:00 pm
Join the filmmakers of this poignant documentary for a screening and Q&A session about the problems faced by families of indigenous potters in Mexico using lead-based glaze.
Watch the trailer here >>
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About the film: By custom, thousands of artisans in Mexico are still using lead in their glazed pottery, not knowing the damage that this toxic element has on their health. In this context, Herlinda, a Purépecha indigenous potter, is one of the few artisans in her community who uses alternative lead-free glazes. Once achieving health and better living conditions for her family, she faces the difficult task of finding a market for her impressive pieces. Yet, this did not dull her dream of having her shop thrive and her brothers return from the United States to rejoin the family tradition.
Victor, a social activist, trains artisans in Michoacan, Mexico to use alternative glazes and fights to open markets for lead-free pottery. However, he faces corruption and lack of interest from business and government that causes that thousands of women and children continue poisoning themselves.
Symptoms of lead poisoning are difficult to see at glance. However, studies show high levels of this metal in the blood of the potters in Michoacan. Victor talks with Jacinto, who recognizes that his eldest daughter's disabilities were the result of exposure to lead during her mother's pregnancy. This story saddens Victor yet compels him to continue his work.
Herlinda and Victor convince a group of artisans in Huancito, Michoacan to use alternative glazes. The glazing process is similar to that used for generations but the materials behave differently. After loading the kiln with the new pieces, they have to wait for the results that will define their future. One morning, Victor gives Herlinda the news that she has been invited to one of the most important craft fairs in the world, which is held in the United States. This fact puts Herlinda closer to realizing her dream, but this trip is not what she imagined to be.
Post event, the filmmakers will host a Q&A session about the film, as well as invite guests to explore the pottery in-person.
About the filmmakers: José Luis Figueroa, co-director of the film (México City - 1968), studied law and served as a trial attorney and prosecutor. His interest in communication and art led him to co-found Galatea audio/visual, a bi-national production company, and the art collective bulbo. From 2002 to 2005 Figueroa served as director and producer of documentaries for the bulbo TV show that aired nationally on public television in Mexico and some parts of the U.S. He was a teacher at the School of Arts of the Autonomous University of Baja California and is currently a documentary filmmaker.
Omar Foglio, co-producer of the film (Tijuana, Mexico – 1974), is co-founder of Galatea audio/visual production company and the art collective bulbo. From 2002 to 2005 he served as director and producer of documentaries for the bulbo TV show that aired nationally on public television in Mexico and some parts of the U.S. He also has studied in communication and management, and was professor at the School of Humanities of Universidad Autonoma de Baja California and Universidad Iberoamericana Plantel Noroeste, lecturing on subjects like introduction to film, research methodology and radio production.
This event is free and open to the public.