Ben Woodford, a lecturer on London College of Communication’s BA (Hons) Film and Television course, celebrated the premiere of his film Aluna at the Sheffield International Film and Documentary Festival this week.
Ben was executive producer for the film made in collaboration with Columbia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Kogi people. It will be screened at cinemas throughout the UK later this year.
The film follows on from a documentary made 20 years ago by Alan Ereira, who was invited by the Kogi to record a desperate environmental plea.
The Kogi, who have lived in their pre-Columbian settlements for thousands of years, have seen alarming changes to the ecology of their surroundings, 19,000ft above sea level. They say this is attributable to general mankind’s exploitation of the world’s nature and resources.
When Alan made his film The Heart of the World – the Elder Brother’s Warning, he gave the Kogi cameras so they could continue to record footage themselves.
Aluna is a combination of this self-recorded material, along with a reinvigorated plea for action filmed again by Alan.
To celebrate the launch of the film, two representatives of the Kogi travelled to Sheffield and beyond to the village of Cressbrook in the Peak District National Park.
Mama Shibulata, a Kogi elder, and Silvestre Gil Zabarata, watched the villagers put the final touches to their well-dressing, itself an ancient Derbyshire custom. The decoration, inspired by an adaptation of Malian art, supports Oxfam’s Water Changes Lives campaign.
The theme resonates strongly with Kogi teachings.
Mama Shibulata said: “Our message is about water. We have to look after it. It is another form of the Mother and that allows us human beings and nature to live.
“When you damage nature, immediately the water will be affected.”