Eric Chavez Sosa and I made this six minute short documentary film during the January 31-February 6 workshop held by Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC in Teotitlan del Valle. It was our first film making collaboration and we were definitely novices! Here it is:
“Weaving a Curve” featuring master weaver Federico Chavez Sosa. He talks about the techniques he learned from his father and another village master who taught him to weave in the style of Francisco Toledo. At the age of 17, Federico was an expert weaver. To weave a curve and perfect the technique requires discipline and practice. He remembers taking the yarn out and trying again, and again, and again. Federico loves to weave, and the process for him is both relaxing and fun. He also explains how he uses natural dyes to prepare the wool, another sign of a master weaver. As the camera pans the village and the sacred Zapotec site of mount Picacho, Federico talks about the meaning of weaving for him personally and how satisfying it is when his work is appreciated by collectors. For Federico, mastery means the blending of traditional and contemporary designs, the true mark of an artist, and the timeless quality of linking past with future.
Eric and I didn’t have time to finish this piece — it is in Spanish without subtitles. So, please forgive us and enjoy the visuals if you don’t completely understand the language. Maybe someday soon, we’ll add the subtitles!
I also want to acknowledge the mastery of our workshop instructors, Erica Rothman of Nighlight Productions, Durham, NC, and Mikel Barton, also of Durham. They were fabuloso!
The process: for five days were were immersed in a learning laboratory experience in the village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. We after two days of classroom instruction and watching examples of documentary footage, we took to the cameras to practice interview techniques and shooting b-roll. We had 60 minutes of tape to use with the goal of producing a 3-5 minute finished video. Unfortunately for us, we used about 20 minutes to practice shooting b-roll which turned out mostly to be sunrise and clouds. You can see a snippet in our opening scene.