Nuestro Abuelo is a critically acclaimed documentary by Benjamin Johns, a Senior Lecturer in BA(Hons) Media Production at Staffordshire University.
The film charts the lives of a Mexican Huichol family. As Shamans and farmers, they still live like their ancestors have done for hundreds of years in the remote mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. It is the first time a non-Mexican filmmaker has captured their lives and it has been met with rave reviews at all of the international film premieres.
Nuestro Abuelo, or Our Grandfather, will now have its Midlands premiere at the Stoke Film Theatre, Staffs Uni’s College Road campus, on Wednesday 23 January, 7:30pm.
Established filmmaker Benjamin Johns said: “After visiting the Tepehunes Tribe in 2003 I wanted to make a film about one of the tribes of central Mexico. Through my research I found that The Huichols were the tribe who have maintained their culture and traditions and live in the most remote areas. I then looked for an opportunity to make a documentary but normal routes failed.”
“In 2006 I applied to Staffordshire University where I am a lecturer and secured some money and kit, then I went to the department of cinematography in Durango, Mexico and cut a deal.”
“We finally got the green light in August 2006 and we were on a plane to Durango 48 hours later. We didn’t know how we would be received by the tribe and if we would be allowed to make the film. We were going into the unknown.”
“The Huichols turned out to be a wonderful people who live in harmony with their environment, which provides them with everything they need. We can learn a great deal from The Huichols and my film is a slice of one family’s life.”
When Benjamin attended the Cuban premiere, he was also given the opportunity to give a lecture at the prestigious International School of Film and TV, where leading directors such as Stephen Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola have taught before him. He met lots of students who came from all around the world to study at the School and is now keen to set up a learning exchange or similar project between the school and the University, or possibly teaching there during the summer terms.
Nuestro Abuelo is due to go to film festivals around the world before becoming available for rental and sale on DVD and eventually it will be shown on TV.