a documentary by Bruno Federico, Andrea Ciacci, Consuelo Navarro.
Colombia/Italy 2012/62 minutes
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.
Production: La Danza Inmovil
Supported by: Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt
Camera: Bruno Federico, Consuelo Navarro
Edition: Andrea Ciacci
Photographer: Bruno Federico
Original music: Luca Merloni
Original format: HDV 1080i 30ftps
Bruno Federico, 35 years old, studied sociology at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. Since 2001, since he first came to Colombia, he has been interested in the Colombian conflict. He has been living there since 2006 and has been working with trade unions, peasant organizations and Human Rights defenders. From early on he liked photography, but only in 2008 he entered the world of audiovisual production, when he worked as editor in a small production company in Bogotá. The following year, he made his first documentary, about the genocide caused by oil exploitation in the Casanare department (“Casanare: exhumando el genocidio”). This documentary has been presented in ten countries and constitutes a powerful denunciation of the role of European companies in the Colombian armed conflict. In 2011, he presented his second documentary, “107 secondi, operai del sud”, about the labour conflict in the Fiat factory in Marchionne. With “El Gigante” he reaffirms his interest in documentaries as tool of representation and participation in socio-economic and political conflicts of our society.
Consuelo Navarro is Colombian and 40 years old. She studied psychology at Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá and specialized in education processes. All her life she has been working with social, peasant, labour and Human Rights organizations. Her interest in audiovisual production began when she was making a research for the video “Los Jóvenes de Soacha”, about the disappearance and murder of 17 young people committed by the Colombian Army. Consequently, she decided to dedicate part of her time to audiovisual production in order to make visible the social and armed conflict in Colombia. For Consuelo, “El Gigante” has the aim of showing to the world the resistance of the communities against the hydroelectric power plant El Quimbo.
Andrea Ciacci , editor and author, was borne in Rome 39 years ago. She has been working in audiovisual production since 1994. After more than 10 years of designing and editing trailers, promotions and publicity spots, in 2004 she began with documentary and television production.
In the last three years, as member of the cooperative Suttvuess, she has been editing“The Well – voces de agua desde Etiopia“, by Riccardo Russo, Paolo Barberi , “A new day has come” by Emiliano Sacchetti , “Jeans and Martò” by Claudia Palazzi, Clio Sozzani, “ Non pensavo che la vita fosse così lunga. Tiberio Mitri” by Aureliano Amadei, Alessandro Falcone, Gian Piero Palombini, “Maputo Dancing Dump” by Marco Pasquini, “Sortino Social Club” by Giusy Buccheri.
Apart from the movies produced by Suttvuess, in 2009 she participated in the project of episodes for the web “Fromzero”, set in the camp of L’Aquila after the earthquake, and in the movie “Back to L’Aquila”, which was carried out for Al-Jazeera in 2011.
She has been in charge of postproduction projects for “Current Italia” and has collaborated with Silvia Luzi and Luca Bellino in the production of reports from “Presa Diretta” by Riccardo Iacona (RaiTre).
In 2008, together with Simona Tili and Angelica De Rossi, she produced “Missing New Orleans”, which was acknowledged as best documentary in the Naples film festival. The same year, she edited “I Gigantari” by Ella Pugliese, which received a special mention for the Premio Libero Bizzarri. In 2007 she edited the movie “Io non sono un moderato” by Andrea Nobile, about Dario Fo, when he was candidate to mayor in Milan, which was a special event in the Locarno festival.