“These are the big fish, who always try to eat down the small fish. I tell you what, they would do anything to materialize their every wish.” – Bob Marley, Guiltiness
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a city of some 700 residents, plus tourists, sitting on the Caribbean coast of southern Costa Rica, where AfroCaribe people came to settle from other islands in the sea several generations ago. It was once the quiet, peaceful town of Old Harbor that almost no connection with the outside world.
As roads and phone lines have begun to reach the city in the last forty years, as the Costa Rican government has tried to bring the area more in-line with the rest of the country – changing all city names to Spanish, pushing locals to speak Spanish as a first language, as big oil companies edge closer and closer to the shore in search of profits, and as more and more tourists flock to this semblance of paradise – Puerto Viejo and its residents find themselves with much to adapt to.
Many of the locals feel that the government isn’t just ignoring their needs, it is actively working against them. The town is perched just inland from a shore that has been encroaching on them as the water level has risen over the last several decades, with the Talamanca Indigenous Reserve – spanning much of southern Costa Rica and home to some 11,000 plus native Bribri – pushing right up through the jungle to the inland edge of the jungle.
This short documentary centers around ATEC, an organization in Puerto Viejo that works to connect tourists with locals working in the industry. These locals are very concerned about the imminent destruction of their homes and lives, and the future of their children, due to laws that seem aimed to remove them not just from the Caribbean, not just from the coastline, but from the land entirely.
Find out more about the filmmakers, the subjects and Costa Rica at queseradelcaribe.actualitymedia.org
Director: Eric Barstow
Producer: Chris Eastman
Cinematographer: Alexei Shishkin
Editor: Tina Bradley
Actuality Media is an organization that takes media students to developing communities around the globe to create positive media that tells the story of changemakers doing good works to fight societal and environmental problems that plague the world. These short documentaries were each produced during a thirty day outreach where crews researched their subject changemaker, wrote out their story, filmed and edited it.
There are so many more positive stories worth telling, and Actuality Media will have more short documentaries soon.