It has been almost exactly two years since the Tracking Patagonia team rode bikes down the Cuesta del Diablo, a set of s curves in the Carretera Austral that descends from the top of the Cerro Castillo pass into the valley below. At that time, we were only a couple of days into filming and hadn’t even reached the end of the pavement. Today I am winding down those curves again, this time in a truck, and heading to Cerro Castillo to show the film that started here.
On Monday I stop into town to meet with people and try to find a way to screen the film during this weekend’s festival of cultural traditions. The film finds its way into the right hands, a local guide, who quickly radios the leader of the local organization in opposition to the dams. Within an hour we have a meeting of 8 people, who stop what they are doing in the middle of the day to come and watch. A couple of six packs of Crystal are thrown into the mix for good measure, and a plan is devised for three showings—one on each day of the festival.
Tonight, you could say, is our world premiere. Rob and I set up a theater at the very farm where we camped with all of our cameras and equipment during production. Felidor, who owns the farm and helped us weld a broken bike trailer, looks truly happy to see us again and throws us an asado (lamb roast). We hang a sheet up in the barn, fire up the projector, and pass around a carton of wine as people start filling up the haystacks and later spill onto the floor. There is snow falling up in the pass tonight, and rain falls on the tin roof while the cold seeps into the barn, takes hold of our feet, and slowly works its way up our legs and onto the tips of our noses.
I crouch in the corner and watch people’s faces as Don Cecilio speaks the final lines. Rob is smiling. When the credits roll we are met with applause. The wine carton is empty and rain still falls on the roof. I can’t possibly imagine a better way to premiere Tracking Patagonia.