Mexico’s International Rural Film Festival (Festival Internacional de Cine en el Campo) brings together farmers, street vendors, schoolchildren and villagers of all ages for outdoor film screenings across the countryside. In the spring and summer of 2013, the ground-breaking festival traveled across Quintana Roo, Campeche, Yucatán, Chiapas and Oaxaca to showcase fimls about climate change, migration and biodiversity in 50 rural communities.
“The festival is so unique because it visits communities that have no access to cinema–it’s the first time that some people have seen a movie screen,” says María Lascurain of the Rainforest Alliance. “From the moment they start inflating the portable screen, people gather in curiosity, and the whole event becomes a social happening where the young and old come together.”
For many attendees, the festival was their first formal introduction to climate change and deforestation–issues that affect their rural communities intimately. As one moviegoer said, “This festival was, more than anything, an awakening of consciousness about these issues.”
The movie lineup included a stop-motion animation film, The Secrets of King Condoy, written and directed by students from Bachillerato Integral Comunitario Ayuujk Polivante and narrated in their indigenous language, Mixe. Students at the school had recently concluded a workshop with the Rainforest Alliance on the power of forests to mitigate climate change, and their film built upon these lessons by highlighting the importance of respecting nature and local traditions.
The Rainforest Alliance is a member of Alianza México REDD+, which sponsored the film festival–created by Fundación Todo por el Cine–alongside Fundación BBVA Bancomer and Mexico’s National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity.