"Las Plantas Curan" is a short documentary film that applies a visual anthropology lens to explore the traditional medicine in the tropical lowlands of Bolivia known as "La Chiquitania."
The film explores how traditional forms of healing and medicine are created from a combination of the physical environment and the local cultural cosmovision.
The main participant of the film, Don Francisco Mamata, is a doctor and healer trained in both traditional herbalism as well as western medicine. He serves his community of San Ignacio de Velasco from his home office and the local hospital.
The filmmaker created this documentary by living with and learning from Don Ignacio and his family. Through this relationship, she creates an intimate and unique portrait of local culture, highlighting the unique qualities which make San Ignacio de Velasco a town of impressive cultural fusion and historical significance.
Acknowledgments & Gratitudes:
This film could not have been created without the generous mentorship and support from Don Francisco Mamata and his family, as well as Ismael Saavedra Menacho who served as a critical advisor of the project.
This was the final research project of the filmmaker’s tenure studying in the School of International Training’s semester-long program, Bolivia: Multiculturalism, Globalization, and Social Change. It was also supported by The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.
The Q'uwa is a traditional Aymara ritual practiced in the Andean region of South America. This video focuses on the tradition as it is practiced in the Bolivian Altiplano.
The filmmaker collaborated with Don Calixto Quispe Huanica an Aymara yatiri, deacon, and spiritual leader to create a visual explanation of the ancient tradition. The video is in three languages (Aymara, Spanish, and English) so that it can be accessed by many audiences. All ceremonies take place in the small town of Tocoli on the shores of the Lake Titicaca, the largest and highest altitude lake in Latin America.
Acknowledgments & Gratitudes
This project could not have manifested without the generous mentorship and support from Don Calixto Quispe Huanica, as well as Ismael Saavedra Menacho who served as a critical advisor.
This video served as anthropological field research during the filmmaker’s tenure studying in the School of International Training’s semester-long program, Bolivia: Multiculturalism, Globalization, and Social Change. It was also supported by The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.