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Huicholes Film wins best documentary: Red Nation Film Festival
By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Latin America, Mexico, Mining, Wixarika on November 14, 2014
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The film Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians has won Best Documentary Film by the Red Nation Film Festival, the premier showcase for Native American and Indigenous film in the United States. The award was shared with The Life, Blood and Rhythm of Randy Castillo, by director Wynn Ponder and producer Johnny Depp.

The selection was the only Latin American film to be awarded.

Upon receiving the distinction, director Hernan Vilchez and producer Paola Stefani said: “This award is received on behalf of the Huichol people, bearers of the words and deeds of the spiritual struggle they launched to defend their sacred territory of Wirikuta, and the message they bear: the urgency of caring for life on the planet.”

They added: “We are grateful to all of those involved in the effort to carry the Wixarika message to all hearts. Thanks to the jury of the Red Nation Film Festival and all who support us in this collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. We are one, all sheltered by the Mother Earth herself.”

Joanelle Romero, Executive Producer and Founder of the Los Angeles based Red Nation Film Festival, experienced a deep personal connection with the Huicholes film.

     “This is a very important film because it not only involves all the issues that we face (as Indigenous People) but the bigger picture is the spirituality that is key to my heart and the Festivals.  It is the power of our medicine through film in telling the truth as we walk with our ancestors.”

     The California premiere of the film screened at the Red Nation Film Festival in Beverly Hills on Nov. 7 and is making multiple stops in in the greater Los Angeles area, including two events at local colleges and a special community premiere hosted by various grassroots organizations.  Film director Hernan Vilchez and a Marakame (Huichol spiritual leader), one of the film protagonists, will introduce and discuss the film at 30+ screenings in 20 different North American cities. Its US premiere at Rice Cinema in Houston, Texas, packed the house, and subsequent stops in Austin, San Antonio, Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque were similarly well received.

The film was represented at the Red Nation Film Festival by the local screening committee, which organized the program, set the agenda and drew the connections between local issues and those portrayed in the film – and there are many, according to Felicia Montes of the spiritual artivist collective, Mujeres de Maiz, “Our Xican@ Indigenous and immigrant communities know the struggle of land, culture and spirituality and have a long relationship with this community- the screening will bring together these circles and issues once again.

The documentary presents the emblematic case of the defense of Wirikuta, sacred territory to the Wixárika (Huichol) people against the threat of transnational mining corporations. The Wixárika people, native to the Sierra Madre, have since time immemorial made their pilgrimages to this land; now they find themselves at the forefront of a spiritual crusade to protect life, evidencing the internal contradictions in our materialistic world.

“This documentary combines stunning cinematography with engaged and compassionate storytelling to bring an underrepresented tale of resistance to Cinema Politica audiences and beyond,” said Ezra Winton, co-founder of the Montreal-based media arts organization.

The movie, which drew 3,000 people to a single showing in Mexico City, won awards in Argentina and brought a mining industry executive to tears in Chile, has been sought by viewers in more than 40 countries, many of whom are going on to organize showings in their own cities.

The film crew has organized an Indiegogo campaign to cover costs of the film and tour production and to continue carrying the message throughout the world At – search words Huicholes Film.

For details about the various screenings visit You can also find information on Facebook: @Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians and Twitter: @PeyoteGuardians, and it can be rented online at




Nov. 7 – California Premiere: Red Nation Film Festival – Laemmle Music Hall Theater – 7 pm



Nov 5 – Rice Cinema – 7 pm

Nov 6 – East Side community screening – 7 pm


Nov 7 – 5604 Manor Community Center – 7 pm.

San Antonio

Nov 8 – Esperanza Peace and Justice Center– 6 pm

Nov 9 – San Antonio Public Library – Mission Branch – 2-5 pm

Nov 10 – San Antonio Public Library – Igo Branch – 2-5 pm

New Mexico


Nov 12 – Taos Mesa Brewing Co. – 8:30 pm

Nov 13 – Taos Center for the Arts – 7 pm

Santa Fe Nov 14 – Museum of Indian Arts and Culture – 7 pm


Nov 15 – La Plazita Institute | Nov 16 – Indian Pueblo Culture Center – 1 pm


San Diego Area

Nov 17 – San Diego State University – 5 pm

Nov 18 – Chula Vista Public Library – 2 pm

WorldBeat Cultural Center – 7 pm

Los Angeles Area

Nov 19 – Fullerton College Campus Theater – 6 pm

Nov 20 – Pasadena City College, Harbeson Hall – 6 pm

Nov 21 – Legacy LA – 6:30 pm

Bay Area

Nov 22 – San Francisco – ANSWER Coalition – 6 pm reception – 7 pm screening



Dec 1 – Crescent Ballroom – 7:30 pm


Dec 2 – The Loft Cinema – 7 pm


Dec 3 – Sedona Film Festival – Mary Fisher Theater – 4 pm and 7 pm


Dec 5 – Center for Indigenous Music and Culture – 7 pm



Dec 6 – Mercury Café – 2 pm

Northern California

Fort Bragg

Dec 9 – Spirit House – 6:30 pm

Mill Valley

Dec 10 – Throckmorton Theater – 7 pm

Santa Rosa

Dec 11 – Arlene Francis House – 7 pm

San Francisco

Dec 12 – California Institute for Integral Studies – 7 pm



Nov 24 – Cinema Politica/Concordia University Auditorium – 7 pm


Nov 26 – University of Toronto – OISE Auditorium – 6:30 pm

Nov 27 – York University, Mirkopolis Theater – 7 pm


Nov 28 – SFU Woodwards Auditorium – 7 pm

Nov 29 – Dogwood Centre – “What are we doing to care for our world’s life?” Community Dinner and networking with organizers – 3 to 8 pm

US Venues working on confirmation

Northern California tour – Dec. 8-15

Press Contact, USA & Canada Film Tour: Tracy Barnett | 210-867-9767 | [email protected]

Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians Indigenous film Indigenous struggles Red Nation Film Festival Wirikuta Wixarika

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