In the feature-length, documentary film Jats’uts Meyah, Bacila Tzek Uc, the last midwife of a remote Maya community, shares ancestral knowledge of plant-based medicine and natural birth at the end of her life. In the Maya world, work is the most important cultural value, but a lack of paid jobs forces men to immigrate for work, while women stay in the pueblo and carefully tend the Maya way of life. Led by the midwife, the women believe that when she dies, they’ll all die right behind her.
Activism through film
Through the power of story, our film conserves sustainable indigenous traditions, which are under the threat of extinction, including midwifery, milpa farming, and open-fire cooking in Yaxhachén, Yucatán. Using only voices from the community, the film embroiders a story which empowers, uplifts, and conserves Maya culture. Feminist at its core, the film seeks to represent indigenous women through film, hopefully inspiring a new generation of girls to be proud of their indigenous identities.
ABOUT THE FILM
Run time: 1 hour & 17 minutes
Language: Yucatec Maya & Spanish (English subtitles)
Place: The film takes place in Yaxhachén, Yucatán & also features some footage from the neighboring communities of Cooperativa & Oxkutzcab, Yucatán
Hecho en México: All film & musical content was produced & post-produced in México
Directed by: Amanda Strickland, a first-time female filmmaker originally from Mississippi, USA
Produced by: Oscar Estrada E, a first-time Yucatecan filmmaker born in Mérida, Yucatán
Folkoric at its core
Our soundtrack was written by the talented Yucatecan composer Felissa Estrada & produced by Cuban musician Jimmy Cruz in FT Studios in Mérida. When we first met the team at FT Studios,
Owner & EP Fausto Guerrero was so moved by the story of Bacila that he offered to produce the soundtrack free of charge, ultimately offering us a creative collaboration that we never could’ve imagined.
The music of Jats’uts Meyah facilitates a folkloric ambience, kin to the memories of Bacila’s life. The soundtrack features trova, cumbia, & ballads, each written to conjure a feeling.