Rivers across the world suffer from an onslaught of abuse, threatening their ecosystems and the communities who rely upon them for survival. Thanks to landmark legal cases, the idea that non-human nature has inherent rights has now entered the mainstream of judicial thought, with at least five nations now recognising the fundamental legal rights of specific rivers to exist, thrive and evolve.
Following the 2017 decision by the Constitutional Court of Columbia to grant the Atrato River environmental personhood, designating it a “subject of rights” – a legal concept which provides the river with the same rights as a person – Residencias Walden invited six Columbian filmmakers to visit the river and reflect on this new subjectivity. This resulted in five short documentaries that powerfully portray the beauty and pain of a distressed waterway. Together, the films promote a nascent legal gesture that holds powerful potential.
From the River Films:
- Rio Abajo by María Paula Jiménez
- Creciente by Anna Magdalena Silva
- El Color del Rio by Mariana Segura
- Pacifico by Wilson Arango y Edna Julieta Sierra
- Superficies by Daniel Torres
Residencias Walden is a residency program for documentary filmmakers in Latin-America that was created by Marta Andreu in 2017. The program has no static base and has hosted participants in Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Spain. Residents benefit additionally from workshops and lectures that stimulate creative documentary approaches to major contemporary issues.
Marta Andreu is a Barcelona-based lecturer, consultant and documentary film producer. She teaches at the DocNomads Joint Master Program, the Cinema School in México and Di Tella University in Argentina. In addition, she regularly leads workshops at international film festivals. Her production company, Playtime, has presented films at Rotterdam, Locarno and the Berlinale. Andreu is a member of the World Cinema Fund and PhD candidate at the University of the Arts London.
Cristina Motta is a Colombian-Argentinean filmmaker and academic. From 2017–19, she was the Residencias Walden’s head of production. She is a co-founder of the collective Gallito Films. Several of her experimental and documentary short films have won awards at film festivals. In addition, she has taught justice and gender issues at universities in Bogotá and Buenos Aires.
Daniel Torres is a teacher, translator, and filmmaker based in Bogotá. After studying architecture at Cornell University, he began his exploration of analogue filmmaking. He works with Fundacion Arcupa – La Otra Mirada, leading filmmaking workshops for children in downtown Botogá. He is currently at work on his first feature film, Lolita in Honda.