My name is Rowan Glass and I am an anthropologist, journalist, and filmmaker from the United States. This winter, my team and I will visit Chiapas, Mexico to film a documentary about the Zapatistas, an Indigenous social movement that launched an uprising against the Mexican state on January 1, 1994. In the 30 years since, the Zapatistas have developed a unique system of Indigenous autonomy based on principles of direct democracy, women's rights, ecological sustainability, and what they term "good government" in the zones of Chiapas under their control. As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, we want to show the world the achievements and current situation of the Zapatista movement. What does it mean to live autonomously outside the narrow confines of Western neoliberalism and globalization? The Zapatista example provides a glimpse into other ways of being, as suggested by their slogan: "Another world is possible."
We need your help to fund this project!
This project was commissioned by The Modern Insurgent, an independent and international media collective specializing in underreported insurgencies and social movements around the world. Due to budgetary constraints, The Modern Insurgent is not able to offer enough funding to cover all the expenses of this project, so this fundraiser is essential to making it happen. I will be joined in this project by two Mexican collaborators: anthropologist and photojournalist Pedro Anza, and sound engineer Mayra Daniela Olmedo Garrido. Pedro was recently in Chiapas to establish the on-the-ground connections we will need to bring this project to fruition, and based on his conversations there, we believe that we are currently one of the only documentary teams working towards filming with the Zapatistas for their 30th anniversary.
This fundraiser will help cover travel costs, equipment purchases, food and lodging in Chiapas, participant remuneration, and a photography/videography workshop we plan to offer in Zapatista territory as a form of reciprocity and capacity building in exchange for the privilege of working with them. In addition to filming directly with Zapatista communities, should we gain access, we plan to conduct interviews in non-Zapatista Indigenous communities in Chiapas, as well as specialists who have worked with the Zapatistas in a variety of roles over the past 30 years. Our starting goal is $2,000, and every dollar will help us increase the production quality of our project and will allow us to do film more and spend longer in Chiapas.
The result of this project will be a documentary between 30 minutes and 1 hour in length, which will be freely distributed through The Modern Insurgent website. This film is a not-for-profit endeavor which emerges from a genuine interest in the Zapatista movement and our journalistic intent to accurately document its current conditions and future prospects. All donors will be credited for their contribution in the documentary credits for helping make this project possible!
If you want to help tell the Zapatista story and educate people about their achievements and challenges, please consider donating today—just a few dollars go a long way. We are hoping to meet our initial goal by December 1 in order to make equipment purchases ahead of time. If you are not in a position to donate, please share this campaign to help spread the word. Together we can make this happen!
Rowan Glass is an American anthropologist, journalist, and filmmaker who holds a BA in cultural anthropology from the University of Oregon. His research has taken him from the mountains and rainforests of southwest Colombia, where he conducted an ethnography of cultural survival and autonomy with the Indigenous Kamëntšá people, to the streets of Dakar, Senegal, where he crafted recommendations for culturally responsive pedagogy with local NGOs. He recently attended the Athens Summer School in Visual Ethnographic Practices to combine his skills in anthropology and filmmaking. Rowan strives to tell engaging stories about underreported people and places through incisive research and creative endeavors.
Pedro Anza is a Mexican photojournalist and graduate in social anthropology. He has collaborated as a reporter and photojournalist with various media organizations in Mexico and Colombia. In 2022, his documentary La Cancha No Tiene La Culpa, an ethnographic film about a group of barras bravas (football hooligans) in northern Mexico, won first place in the Monterrey International Film Festival. Since 2011, he has worked as an editor and reporter for Cuartoscuro.
Mayra Daniela Olmedo Garrido is a Mexican composer, sound recordist, music producer, and performer of traditional Mexican music born in Mexico City. Her sound exploration focuses on the crossroads between oral tradition, nature, documentation, new and experimental technologies, and the experimental practice of sound and audiovisual media. Daniela has done direct sound for several documentaries and has composed music for Mexican and Latin American productions of animated short films and documentary feature films. As a composer, she has shown her works in various festivals of electroacoustic music and sound art.
Thank you for supporting independent journalism by donating to this fundraiser and spreading the word!