Ethnographic film on an Andean festival

This ethnographic film project is the result of a collaboration between Jérémie Voirol, PhD in social sciences from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), and Francis Mobio, teaching fellow in audio-visual anthropology at the University of Lausanne.

The aim of the film is to present the 2016 edition of the Pawkar Raymi festival («Festivity of Flowering») organised since 1995 in the indigenous community of Peguche, in the Otavalo region, in the Ecuadorian Andes. We followed and filmed this festival in February 2016, thanks to the support of the Lobsiger Foundation and of the Société Académique Vaudoise.

Through this film, we want to:

  • Render the sensory experience of this festival;
  • Give the floor to some protagonists of the festival (to the main organiser, the person in charge of the cultural events and that in charge of the soccer tournament), in order that they are able convey the way in which they conceive the festivity.

The Pawkar Raymi festival constitutes one of the three parts of my PhD thesis in anthropology on the indigenous festivities in Otavalo (University of Lausanne): The first one, dedicated to private parties (for example weddings); the second one, to community scale festivities; and the last one, to the large festivals like the Pawkar Raymi.

The activities of the Pawkar Raymi festival

The Pawkar Raymi festival lasts eleven days and consists of different activities, from which the most important ones are, in chronological order (which the film will follow), the following ones:

  1. The evening before the festival, which constitutes a festive part with dances, brass band and fireworks.
  2. The soccer tournament, which consists of a dozen teams from the region formed by indigenous players and by three non-indigenous players.
  3. The cultural events, which consist of principally live music performances of local, national and foreign bands. This year, Alpha Blondy performed during the «international event».
  4. The «Tumarina», which is a purification ritual with water and flowers, performed on the occasion of the Pawkar Raymi by a shaman.
  5. The carnival battles of water, flour, foam and paint.
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Why to support a film on festival?

Festive events are a part of important social moments of the human being life around the world. However, social sciences tend to neglect these events because they are considered too frivolous.

We think that a film on a festival in the Andes enables to better approach these events as well as to make them known in a particular context, and to arise similar and different elements concerning the festive aspects. The audio-visual enables a better accessibility of the festive experience (through sensoriality) as much for European than Ecuadorian audience.

Moreover, this film is going to constitute a restitution for festival participants and protagonists and it will be more accessible than a PhD thesis.

What will we do with the amount that we are trying to find?

In order to complete successfully our ethnographic film project, we are looking for 7,000 Swiss francs (approximately 7,000 US dollars). We will use it as it follows:

  • Editing the film and a DVD (graphic designer, burning, box, cover printing, sending): around 3,000 frs.
  • Sound mixing by a sound engineer: around 1,000 frs.
  • Calibration by a professional specialist: around 1,000 frs.
  • Restitution (according to an ethnographic approach), that is the organisation of several meetings/projections (travels, accommodation, room renting, facilitation) in Ecuador, Switzerland and France, targeting particularly the Otavalo indigenous diaspora: around 2,000 frs.

What will you receive?

  • Your name at the end of the film, under the «support» section (from 15 Swiss francs).
  • An invitation to a meeting-projection of the film (from 90 Swiss francs).
  • A DVD of the film (from 150 Swiss francs).