OME: TALES FROM A VANISHING HOMELAND
USA - ECUADOR 38 MIN
Filmed in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, OME: Tales From a Vanishing Homeland follows the indigenous Huaorani on a journey through their pristine ancestral homeland where their traditional way of life is challenged as oil companies loom on the horizon.
RAÚL O. PAZ-PASTRANA
Originally from Chihuahua Mexico Raúl is a filmmaker based in New York City. Raul’s previous work includes “REZONOMICS,” which premiered at Mexico City’s DOCSDF Film Festival and explores the lives of tribal Lakotas struggling to make a living in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Raúl’s film “THE ART OF REMEMBRANCE,” premiered at the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011 and was a Nominee for the Student Academy Award. His last film “OME: Tales From A Vanishing Homeland” was filmed on location in the Amazon rainforest and it examines the lives of one of Ecuador’s most isolated indigenous groups the, Huaorani, and their struggle to protect their land. “OME” was funded by the 2011 Princess Grace Filmmaker Award and the Hispanic Scholarship fund.
Currently Raúl is working on his first feature length film “Landscapes and Faces of the Mexico-Guatemalan Border,” (working title) which focuses on the interaction of people living and crossing the Mexico/Guatemala border with their natural and manmade environment through an observational cinematic style. The film is in development with principal photography starting this fall.
Raúl graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2012 where he received the 2012 Paula Rhodes Memorial Award for exceptional achievement in social documentary Film.
- IDA Award Nominee, USA 2013
- CINE, USA 2013 — Golden Eagle Award
- IFFEST Document.Art, Bucharest, Romania 2014 — Next Generation Award
"OME: Tales From a Vanishing Homeland" introduces viewers to a hidden part of the Yasuni Rainforest Reserve, deemed the “Wildest Place on Earth” in the January 2013 edition of National Geographic. Rarely visited by outsiders, the film not only captures the unique lifestyles of the indigenous Huaorani who inhabit the Reserve, but their interactions with the diverse plant and animal species that they depend upon for their survival.
The original intention with “OME” was to make an ethnographic, direct cinema documentary film, in which we observe the Huaorani in an almost anthropological way. As we were filming, however, the Huaorani began using GPS devices to map their traditional land in order to challenge the oil companies’ drilling plans, shifting the film’s focus to one of cultural survival and political empowerment.
“OME” appeals widely to general audiences, many of whom may have heard of the Ecuadorian president’s recent appeals for millions of dollars in international aid to prevent drilling within Huaorani territory in the Yasuni. I believe “OME” is of particular interest to audiences who are concerned with the environment, human rights, and indigenous issues as the film highlights the human, environmental, and cultural costs of drilling on protected land. Additionally the film appeals to younger adult audiences who stand to inherit the issue of rainforest deforestation and the question of survival not only of the rainforest, but of those who call it home.Furthermore, the film is told entirely from the perspective of our main Huaorani characters. This documentary style in which community members are empowered to tell their own story deviates from the style used by most documentaries and media reports about the area, which are driven by the testimonies of American attorneys, environmentalists, academics, and public officials. Past films on the subject have portrayed the Huaorani as violent, but “noble savages.” This film however depicts the Huaorani as experts in charge of their own story, as they use modern computers and gps devices in the fight to protect their homeland.
Short Competition 2015