Metamorfosis Documentation Project has embarked on a new project, Todos Santos / Day of the Dead, to explore rituals that celebrate the relation between the living and the dead. The cult of the dead is celebrated throughout Latin America in indigenous and mestizo communities. Known as Día de Muertos or Todos Santos, these celebrations have roots in the cult of the dead of prehispanic indigenous cultures and in pagan and Catholic rituals. Each ethnicity, region and country has different ways of honoring their dead, all based on the same sense of responsibility and reciprocity to the ancestors. We will try to portray how these values, the different rituals about the proper way to honor the dead, the preparations for the celebrations, the altars, and the communion with the dead strengthen family and community ties bringing about a sense of belonging and well being.
Our Todos Santos / Day of the Dead Project has two components, one individualized and short-term and another broader and long-term.
The individual projects, which began with our current Todos Santos Project in Candelaria, Bolivia, will document a Day of the Dead celebration in different communities of different cultures in the Americas (two in Mexico, one in New Mexico, one in Bolivia and one in Guatemala). Each individual project will have three phases: 1) the production of a short documentary of the community’s Day of the Dead celebration, with the donation of the rights of reproduction of the documentary to the community; 2) the development of a related collaborative community project; and 3) the presenting of the results to a wider audience through public presentations and screenings of the documentary, submission of the documentary to film festivals, and the featuring of the Project on our website.
The broader Todos Santos / Day of the Dead Project will incorporate the documentations from all of the individual projects. We will produce a feature-length documentary and a large format fine art photography book; both of which will present and compare these varied cultures’ Day of the Dead ceremonies and celebrations. We will donate copies of both the movie and the book to all of the represented communities. As with the individual projects, we will program presentations of the Project and screenings of the documentary in cultural and educational institutions, and we will submit the documentary to national and international film festivals. This documentary will also be submitted to television networks in the United States and internationally. When comparing these varied celebrations, we intend to present the differences amongst them, but more importantly, the commonalities that unite them.
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