Brilliant Soil, Directed by Sebastian Diaz and José Luis Figueroa Lewis
93 minutes| Mexico | 2011 | Digital projection
“One of the most touching and urgent stories I’ve seen in a long time”
-Betto ARcos, KPFK’s Global Village
“Shines with the same earthen luster as Purépecha pottery itself”
-Kenneth Rogers, UC, Riverside
By custom, thousands of artisans in Mexico still use lead based glazes in their pottery without knowing the damage that this toxic element causes to their health.
95% of about 3,000 family workshops of artisans in Michoacan use lead-based glazes. The toxic effects range from attention deficit disorder, anxiety and irritability, to miscarriages in women. Acute exposure to lead may cause encephalopathy in children and osteoporosis.
Herlinda, an indigenous Purepecha potter, is one of the few artisans in her community who uses alternative lead-free glazes. Having achieved safer and healthier living conditions for her family, she faces the difficult task of finding a market for her impressive pieces.
But this does not dull her dreams of having her shop thrive and her brothers return from the United States to rejoin the family tradition. An unexpected trip could crystallize this dream. To visit the Brilliant Soil website and donate click here.
‘Brilliant Soil’ was Grand Prize winner in FIFAV festival-France, FICVI-Mexico, the Material Culture and Archeology Film Prize at the 13th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film 2013, in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has also been selected in Raindance-UK and Sydney Latino Film Fest-AUS 2012.
Sebastian Diaz is a Mexican independent Media Producer/Editor/Cinematographer. He co-founded a production company which produced a DIY documentary format tv show transmitted nationwide in Mexico and part of the US, where he directed, shot and edited several episodes about the Tijuana-San Diego (mex-usa) border region where he was raised. He was director of photography, editor and colorist of the feature documentary “Tijuaneados Anonymous”, part of Ambulante Festival-Mex 2010. Besides his film projects, he has been collaborating as editor for reality shows for MTV and Discovery networks (Latin) and producing content for web channels.
Eric O’Leary is founding member of BSP Mexico. His career as Artist, Ceramist, Activist, C2C champion and environmentalist all merged in his work in Mexico helping to dispose of the use of lead. He claims the work that is being done around the world to solve problems related to toxic materials in products is extraordinary and critical to all of us.
Amalia Córdova is a curator and scholar specialising in indigenous film. She is the Assistant Director of New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and teaches at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She is the former Latin American Program Coordinator of the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. She has published several articles on indigenous media, advised on international screenings, and co-directed three short documentaries.