A documentary by Bruno Federico, Andrea Ciacci, and Consuelo Navarro.
El Gigante18th Street Arts Center (1639 18th St, Santa Monica, CA 90404) Map it
What would you do if some day someone came to your home and told you it would be flooded? The construction of a hydroelectric power plant threatens the valley of the Magdalena River, its flora, fauna, people and their way of living. A group of peasants and fishermen, who have grown up under the shadow of “El Gigante” (the giant), struggles against the multinational companies Enel, Endesa and Impregilo. These companies are constructing the power plant despite the voices of disagreement but with the blatant complicity of the State institutions and the protection of the Army. Through the voices of the protagonists and the actions undertaken to protest, the documentary shows a year of a struggle that has not yet finished. The conflicts for territorial control spread throughout the world, and each time they become more violent, while they confront local communities with financial giants and transnational industries searching the planet for new sources of profit. “El Gigante” relates the clash between two opposed visions of life: one that pursues unlimited economic growth and uses human beings and nature for a system that has already entered crisis; and one that tries to make rational and balanced use of resources and to live in harmony with a given territory. The conflict of El Quimbo, however, is not only this; it is also a metaphor of the conflict that has been staining Colombia with blood for half a century: flexibility in favour of the powerful, inutility of legal and peaceful forms of opposition, a democracy deaf to the voices of its citizens, the necessity to protect one’s own life project. All this leads the victims of the hydroelectric project to actions of civil disobedience and resistance, which make the confrontation more serious and produce a violent reaction on part of the State. This situation generates a spiral of which nobody knows where it will end. For this reason, we decided to participate one year in the life, the protests and the organizational process of the communities that are opposed to the hydroelectric project “El Quimbo”. Thus, the documentary is the result of the interaction between the makers and the people who struggle.
To be followed by a Q&A with Carolina Caycedo, Atossa Soltani (Founder and Executive Director of Amazon Watch) and Paul Wertheimer (Crowd management expert and Founder of Crowd Management Strategies).