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An Interview with KLEFF 2017 Winners: Public Service Announcement Award – Identity

An Interview with KLEFF 2017 Winners: Public Service Announcement Award – Identity

Ivan Jaripio, film director of ‘Identity’

The KLEFF team caught up with the winner of Public Service Announcement (PSA) Award – Ivan Jaripio, who directed the film ‘Identity’, which was screened during KLEFF 2017. Check out our interview with this inspiring film maker as he talks about his films, involvement in KLEFF and challenges in film-making.


How did you hear about KLEFF and what inspired you to submit your film to KLEFF?

I first heard about KLEFF from the charity organisation If Not Us Then Who. They were the ones who initially recommended that I submit my film. From that moment on, I was very keen to get involved.

Can you tell us about your film and what inspired you to tell the story?

In the community of Piriati Embera, the culture is being lost as well as its forests. This loss takes with it our ancestral knowledge in equal parts, as the forest too is lost, because in it we can find everything that is necessary to survive.

Preparing the body with bodypaint called jagua, which is made from a forest plant.

Were there any challenges in the making of the film? Can you share one with us?

Yes, one of the challenges was how to make a video that will be widely understood, as the national language of Panama is Spanish. However, I was born into the culture of Embera, and therefore I speak the Embera language. As a consequence of results, the film was produced with images and sounds in a way that the viewers will understand the difficulties that are currently affecting nature and indigenous populations internationally without relying on the use of words.

If you attended the KLEFF awards in 2017, how was your experience at the festival? Could you describe your audience’s reaction to your film? Did you think the audience understood their role in the issue highlighted in your film?

Unfortunately, I could not attend the festival. However, I was always keeping up-to-date throughout the whole festival with the use of social networks.

Are you currently planning to make any more environmental films? If yes, would you be able to share a bit of the plan with us?

Yes, I do have a project in mind. This project will require the participation of several countries such as Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Panama and Guatemala. All of the filmmakers involved have an indigenous background like myself, and we will exhibit the problem in which large corporations are causing in indigenous communities, where we indigenous people will consequently be the ones who will have to protect our forests. Each one of us will contribute footages from our own respective territories and through this, we will produce a collaborative film with a joint voice.

Filming an elder from the Piriati community playing the Trumpa, a musical instrument made with iron which is no longer played; a diminished skill.
Filming a man cutting wood into the shape of a frog, a typical craftwork in indigenous Embera communities in Panama. He explains how the culture is near extinct since the construction of the Bayano hydroelectric dam.

What is your message to all the filmmakers out there about making environmental films?

As an indigenous person myself, all my life I have lived whilst being surrounded by nature and now my community no longer has a forest of our own. Based on that reason alone and the fact that we can now do many things through the realisation of films, we may now deal with the situation that is currently affecting indigenous communities and it’s forests. Television stations do not sell information that deals with the situation of climate change that affects the world population. However, through these films, we can create demands and prove what is actually happening in real life.


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