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Peruvian ‘Tambogrande’ docu makes its screen debut in Europe

The documentary “Tambogrande” which addresses the peaceful fight against the operation of gold mines in Peru, will be shown today in Prague, Czech Republic, at the ninth annual “One World” documentary film festival.Canadian Stephanie Boyd and Peruvian Ernesto Cabellos have worked eight years on this film that cost US$ 90,000 and goes deep into the denunciation of developing mining activities without due health guarantees and justice. The two filmmakers have already produced a documentary on the same topic, “Choropampa, el precio de oro” (Choropampa. The price of gold) which was released in 2002.

The producing company is “Guarango Film and Video”, founded 13 years ago by Ernesto Cabellos and Swiss producer Stefan Kaspar to promote the independent production and distribution of Peruvian film and video. Guarango is a registered non-profit organization in Peru as well as a member of the Peruvian Filmmaker’s Association.

“Choropampa had a great impact, after more than a thousand people were poisoned with mercury in Yanachocha after an accident. The people in charge of the mining Newmont company did not compensate anyone”, Boyd told EFE news agency in the Czech capital.

It led to an investigation by the American embassy and in the year 2000 a collective denunciation was filed in a U.S. federal court . A ruling is still pending.

“Compared to the tragedy of Choropampa, Tambogrande seems more like a comedy. It is an important positive story for the community”, Boyd said. She moved from Kenya to Peru almost ten years ago.

An international advocacy campaign has been launched to support the Peruvian town of Tambogrande in their struggle to stop a Canadian company from setting up an open-pit gold mine in the town. Tambogrande is one of Peru’s most productive agricultural regions, and it is feared that the proposed mine would bring severe contamination to the soil and the water supplies, endangering the health and livelihood of the local people. The $1 billion project would also require the relocation of over half of the town’s residents.

Boyd mentioned six other mining projects in Peru that do not have the support of the local population, reason why she considers helpful “to tell the history of a town and its non-violent resistance”.

The “Tambogrande – Mangos, Murder, Mining” documentary has won 5 international awards and been broadcast on the Sundance Channel USA), CBC Country (Canada), KBDI Colorado, USA) and national television in Peru, Argentina and Venezuela.

After the European opening, the documentary will screen in South Korea.

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