Touching down in Santiago, one immediately feels the pulse of South America. It just feels different down here. Although for me, perhaps the biggest difference I feel is inside; the last time I landed in Santiago I was searching for something that I couldn't quite articulate. But this time, just under three years later, feels more like a homecoming than an act of departure.
The past couple of weeks have been extremely fast-- one week in Santiago and the second in Buenos Aires, a city I have never been to before but surely plan on visiting again. And now, at long last, I find myself in Coyhaique, listening to the familiar sounds of constant wind, crackling fire, and the rattling of corrugated metal rooftops. After two years of editing footage filmed here, I had still managed to forget how much I love these sounds. Video, even at its very best, is still a rough approximation of life.
In Santiago I made the first important steps toward returning Tracking Patagonia to its rightful owners, the people of Chile. I met with the people at Ecosistemas, including Juan Pablo Orrego, who has been an outsopken leader in the campaign against the dams. I sat side by side with Juan Pablo, watching and listening to his reactions, as the faces and places I had worked so dearly to represent rolled past on the screen. Near the end of the film, "Abre la Ventana," a song I have grown to love by Victor Jara, scores an emotional moment. Turns out that Juan Pablo Orrego's band, Los Blops, is playing with Victor on this very track. Juan Pablo looks at me, and somehow I am not surprised. It seems that this particular work of art has already broken through the surface.
Now, here in Coyhaique, I will begin the process of planning screenings and events throughout the region. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and the reactions of others with all of you along the way. But in the meantime, I'm equally content to listen to the wind, the fire, and the rattling roof.