International competition

Living There Is Not Hell, It Is the Fire of the Desert. The Plenitude of Life That Stayed There Like a Tree

Vivir allí no es el infierno, es el fuego del desierto. La plenitud de la vida, que quedó ahí como un arból

Javiera Véliz Fajardo

2018ChileBrazil58 minColour

The footprint of the Copiapó river searches for its mouth, meets with Totoral, a town that was born and raised by the land, by their animals and by survival. The trees get drier, the men get older. In hopes of a better future, people are leaving and the town is disappearing. In summertime, the fruits are their animals’ food, while in winter they await the rainfall. A town surrounded by hills, men observing from a distance, they are all desert watchmen: they know and distinguish each other by their footprints in the same way they recognize their animals. Each day they go out in search of food for their animals, who they protect as they would their own children. The sun’s rays shine daily, and nightly they retire to their houses awaiting another dawn. Crickets sing, the moon waits, and the sound of the trees breaks the immense silence of the desert. The seasons of the year change, from winter to spring, summer to autumn, while we remotely hear the voices of the people from Totoral. These are dialogues they have with their animals, stories from the past, of what was and what is not coming back, as time itself mutates and forgets. Could it be possible to disappear in the desert? Totoral is a town that disappears between its hills. These men, together with their animals, erase their footprints and their passage through time. In this fragile way, almost inert, the desert buries the last farmers of the Atacama Desert.

Born in 1986, in Copiapó, Chile, Javiera Véliz Fajardo studied art and then cinema. In 2009 she founded Pocilga Productions with Bárbara Pestan. In 2013 she studied in EICTV (International School of Film and TV), Cuba. In 2015 she studied a Master’s in Direction of Photography at Escac, Spain. Living There Isn’t Hell… is her first documentary as a director. 

  • PRODUCTION : Bárbara Pestan (Pocilga)