Saving the Weavers Documentary DVD
From Endangered Threads Documentaries (ETD), Saving the Weavers: Small Assistance Programs for Maya Women in Highland Guatemala, is a 43-minute documentary focusing on ten dedicated people and their assistance programs. The 36-year Civil War (1960-1996) decimated the indigenous Maya population of Guatemala. Many of those who survived were widows without any means of support for themselves or their children. This documentary focuses on ten extraordinary people who saw the desperate need and dedicated years of their lives to establish small assistance programs and find markets for products made by Maya weavers.
Italian-Guatemalan-American Brenda Rosenbaum and her late husband Fred formed Mayan Hands in Guatemala City and American weaving expert and teacher Deborah Chandler subsequently joined the organization as the in-country manager. The late Jane Mintz of San Francisco founded Maya Traditions in Panajachel, Guatemala, and enlisted help from American Martha Lynd. Vey Smithers, an American from the east coast, opened the store Colibrí in Antigua, Guatemala. Maya leader Alida Pérez founded a large artisans guild in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, and opened a Maya textile museum and store in Antigua. Candis Krummel left a job on Capital Hill in Washington, DC, and headed to Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, where she co-founded the Cojolya Association. María Concepción Cuc, a Maya working as a community organizer in Guatemala, moved with her husband, American Felipe Gonzales, to Washington State, where they run Moonflower Enterprises and other Internet businesses. And Pedro Marroquín, a young Maya born and raised in the Ixil Triangle, worked his way up to direct Codearteco, an assistance program for widows and orphans of the Civil War in San Juan Cotzal, Guatemala. The documentary includes interviews with program founders and staff, and scenes of beneficiaries in highland Guatemala. It also provides background information on the devastating Civil War and how the war affected Maya women and their children.
Filmmaker Kathleen Mossman Vitale, a former journalist, photographer and publication editor, lived in Latin American for 13 years, beginning with two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador. She also lived in Brazil and Peru. Her first documentaries were produced in Oregon during the 1990s, and include: C. S. Price: Modernist Painter in Search of Spirit, and Blossoms from the Mud: The Art of Wang Gongyi (in English & French). Since moving back to her native state of California in 2001 and co-founding ETD with her husband Paul G. Vitale, her credits include: Splendor in the Highlands: Maya Weavers of Guatemala, A Century of Color: Maya Weaving & Textiles, and Manuela & Esperanza: The Art of Maya Weaving. ETD documentaries are produced with both English and Spanish narration tracks.2010 Emmy award-winner Christopher Hedge, widely known for his innovative approach and cultural sensitivity in PBS documentaries, composed original music for Saving the Weavers. Hedge is the creative genius at The Magic Shop in South San Francisco. He also composed music for the ETD documentaries A Century of Color: Maya Weaving & Textiles and Manuela & Esperanza: The Art of Maya Weaving. Voice-over artist Lina del Roble translated the script and narrated the documentary in both English and Spanish. Del Roble, a multilingual voice talent from the San Francisco Bay Area, was also the narrator of the ETD documentary Manuela & Esperanza: The Art of Maya Weaving.
Documentaries on the Maya by ETD have been screened at the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley; the Museum of Archeology & Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque; the Museum of the Americas, Denver; the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables; the University of Oregon, Eugene; the American Anthropological Associations Society of Visual Anthropology Film Festival of 2007 and 2009; and numerous weavers guilds and art groups in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley of California. ETD documentaries are also used in Guatemala to educate Maya children about their culture.
The Vitales founded ETD in 2004. The goal of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit is to produce and promote educational documentaries recording indigenous art forms, especially those in imminent danger of disappearing due to cultural genocide, global economic expansion and the resulting homogenization of cultures.