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MAATHAAW The Fire Within Us Native American Film

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Since 2021, the Condor Visual Media team has been working on a feature-length documentary film called MAATHAAW: The Fire Within Us, with Tribal partners and relatives from across southern California. This film covers multiple stories about Indigenous peoples from across the San Diego region and their cultural, emotional, and scientific relationships with fire.

Dr. Stanley Rodriguez and apprentice Priscilla Ortiz share how they are working to revitalize the language within the Iipay and Tipay Kumeyaay Communities. With only a handful of fluent speakers of the Kumeyaay language and its many dialects, language immersion programs are being initiated to keep the language thriving.

Chief Wesley Ruise Jr. and Joelene Tamm's mission has been to build a fire cadre of local Tribal and non-Tribal partners to balance Indigenous, state, local, and federal practices for land management. These efforts have brought intentional fire back to the land and has guided academic and Indigenous science to learn how fire can help in the removal of invasive Gold Spotted Oak Borers.

Quinton Peck, a Tribal member from the La Jolla reservation, shares his story of addiction in the aftermath of the 2007 Poomacha fire. His story reflects on the healing power of fire when it is acknowledged as a relative and not an enemy.

The Climate Science Alliance Tribal Working Group collaborates to safeguard the lands and cultures of southern California Tribes from the threat of climate change by practicing transformational adaptation through the equal valuation of knowledges. This story focuses on the science behind current fire conditions, climate adaptation, and how knowledge systems can come together to uplift Indigenous management practices.

These stories are intertwined and connect to paint a bigger picture of how fire is healing to our communities, knowledge systems, and relationships with one another. All stories take place in the original territories of the First Peoples in the region of San Diego, California. They are powerful stories of collaboration, resilience, and hope.

This project's goal is to uplift our Tribal communities and people in the region now called San Diego and their relationship with fire. MAATHAAW is the Iipay Kumeyaay word for our soul. MAAT is the land and also our bodies. AAW is fire. Fire on the land, and fire in the heart.

We are grateful for your support of this film. No raffles, sweepstakes, giveaways, or promotions are offered in exchange for any donations made to our GoFundMe.

Where are we at with the project so far? Today's date is November 26, 2023. We are about 65% done with production. Production is in the project phase, where we are recording footage for each story.

After production, we will begin compiling the footage into its final form (a feature-length film). This phase is called post-production. It includes narrative compilation, footage overlay, color, sound and music.

We anticipate the project to be completed by Spring 2024.

We have compiled a short teaser from some of the footage so far. Watch it here:

Additionally we have a special extended trailer. Watch it here:

We were awarded a great funding opportunity from the Climate Science Alliance to kick-start our project in the research and development phase. Now that we are well into production, we need additional assistance!
  • STORY: A monetary gift to those fore-fronting their personal stories into this film. $30,000 (more if allowable!)
  • Video Production: continued video recording. Because the documentary has different ongoing stories, my team must be on location to record these moments. $50,000
  • Soundtrack: Original music. Compensation for artists and music producers; recording, mixing and mastering. $20,000
  • Editing: Compilation of the entire project for a 90-minute feature film. $50,000 (probably more, but we'll keep it here for now!)
  • Promotion: Paid social media ads, posters, gifts, premiere events, anything to get the word out and honor the film. $ 50,000
  • Total: $200,000

Who Am I?
I am Andrew James Pittman. I am a Tribal member of the Los Coyotes Band of Indians in San Diego, California. I am Cahuilla and Ipai-Kumeyaay. My grandfather is from Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno and my grandmother is from the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. I am a video producer. Lisset (wife/partner) and I operate our business, Condor Visual Media. We are a family business with more than a decade of experience in video production.

For more information:

To see what we're up to:

Our partners Climate Science Alliance:


  • Olivia Poulos
    • $15 
    • 17 d
  • Lisa Cartwright
    • $125 
    • 2 mos
  • Forest Schafer
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Joe Riley
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Dominique Chapparosa
    • $25 
    • 6 mos


Andrew James Pittman
San Diego, CA

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