5 Questions about Journey For Filmmaker Rafael Garcia
Rafael Garcia started his film-making career after graduating from the Savannah Faculty of Art and Design and dealing in the Atlanta space on various initiatives. Stone Island Sale In 2006, he joined a begin-up production firm that took him on diving and fishing related programs all through Central America. Throughout this time, Garcia met a number of highly certified divers and began to organize a dive team. Mayan Blue, a feature size documentary movie, explores the historical past of the Yucatan and surrounding regions — typically underwater in cenotes, lakes and other distinctive stone island football hooligans water features of the region. Mayan Blue also reveals the outstanding archaeological site of Samabaj, a pre-basic site that was flooded in a cataclysmic event on Lake Atitlan some 2000 years in the past.
JOSHUA BERMAN: When did you first journey to a Mundo Maya nation and how did it impression you How did you stumble on this story of a misplaced underwater metropolis
RAFAEL GARCIA: I first traveled to Mexico in November of 2007, having just established a small but elite team of divers and securing some funding to check our underwater digital camera gear. As a boy, and son to a history-obsessed father, I had long developed a fascination with the Maya civilization. I remember strolling up to el Castillo in Chichen-Itza really shaking with pleasure. I am extraordinarily grateful for all my experiences on this film, and it has truly been a dream come true. Now, having come out the opposite end and searching again on my experiences, I feel that I gained an appreciation, not just for the previous accomplishments of the Maya people, but for a thriving, vibrant individuals still weaving an exquisite tapestry of culture.
We had initially begun filming throughout Mexico and Central America with the idea of making a type of diving documentary or tv pilot. We began listening to rumors nearly immediately of ruins and artifacts around Lake Atitlan, and shortly tales of lost cities and a ‘Mayan Atlantis’ started to reach us.
While enjoyable after a day of diving at ‘The Iguana Perdida’, our dive HQ, the owner Deedle Ratcliffe pulled out a binder full of previous magazine clippings that includes the lake. She drew our attention to an ‘Advanced Diver Magazine’ article highlighting one group of dive ‘explorers’ who had emerged from the lake with luggage stuffed with artifacts and pottery. The conversation soon turned to a local man who claimed to have found a set of ruins under the waters of the lake. In the mid nineties, Roberto Samayoa registered what he referred to as ‘an underwater metropolis’ with the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture. His claims were shrouded in doubt. We might finally meet with Roberto, dive on site and see first-hand that his claims had been professional. By the course of our relationship, the complete scope of Roberto’s discovery can be revealed and become the main target of the movie.
JB: What is important about Samabaj
RG: There are plenty of the reason why this discovery can be thought-about vital. From an archeological perspective, it is a wholly distinctive site, in that it is an island site and island websites in the Maya world are extremely rare. Moreover, underwater Maya websites are largely unknown. A couple of websites exist in Belize along the coast, however underwater websites of this scale are unheard of in the area. It is immediately clear from the archeological evidence that the island was a ceremonial heart, with giant collections of stelea and a ceremonial plaza aligned to Atitlan Volcano. Classic Maya mythology describes the creation of the world as having occurred at the ‘Three Stone place’, a metaphor that mirrors the three volcanoes around Lake Atitlan perfectly. Lake Atitlan has lengthy been considered a spiritual heart within the Mayan world, and the lake is often referenced as ‘el umbligo del mundo’ or the axix mundi, the very spot from which the earth emerges.
In antiquity, the lake would have been a commerce hub, a significant hyperlink in a community of Pre-Classic settlements and cities. Head archeologist of the Samabaj project, Sonia Medrano, postulates that confronted with the flood occasion that engulfed the sacred site of Samabaj, a legend would emerge and unfold all through the Maya world, becoming the creation story of Classic period mythology with Samabaj because the literal Xibalba or underworld.
JB: You got to dive in Lake Atitlan, swim through caves, and fly in helicopters over Guatemala — what was probably the most superior travel second you had throughout production of Mayan Blue
RG: A number of moments stand out from my experiences on Mayan Blue. Definitely diving in the cenotes of Yucatan is wonderful. The water is unbelievably clear and gives you the impression of soaring by way of these caves. It’s as close as I’ll most likely ever get to being in outer area. As a fan of all issues Maya since childhood, the most rewarding expertise was seeing firsthand these superb locations.
I have fond memories of standing on Temple IV at Tikal, overwhelmed with the sound of howler monkeys at sunrise and watching the fog path through the jungle. I had the opportunity to enter the crypt inside the temple of inscriptions at Palenque. Standing in the presence of the good Maya Lord Pakal just isn’t one thing you get to do on a regular basis; it’s seared into my memory, a psychological Official tattoo. Certainly we had some troublesome moments too. Driving in Central America is at all times an adventure, and seeing the poverty that’s rampant throughout the area is difficult. However these items are a part of what makes the Mundo Maya alluring.
JB: What recommendation do you’ve gotten for somebody traveling to a Maya village or archeological site for the first time
RG: Bear in mind that you’re being watched, fastidiously. There are too many stories of some tourist snapping a picture of a photogenic little one and paying dearly for it in violence. Ask to take images of individuals, and be ready to pay. Don’t be afraid to attempt one thing new as far as food, the Mayan world has a lot to offer on this regard, nevertheless, bear in mind of water sanitation considerations. Learn and prepare. At an archeological site, learn the plaques, inform yourself. You can avoid loads of rip-off artists just by being properly learn and prepared forward of time.
JB: Did you come across any specific places or programs, particularly group-based mostly tourism efforts, i.e. ground-up tourism ventures that empower Maya villagers
RG: One of many richest and most seen indicators of indigenous Maya tradition round Lake Atitlan are the patterned Maya textiles and weaves. We were lucky to be allowed entry to the Cooperative of Women Weavers of San Juan La Laguna so as to film the traditional styles of textile weaving. The cooperative of 22 girls are devoted to preserving their ancestral strategies of spinning, and are amongst the only people in the region who still spin their own thread directly from homegrown cotton. All of their dyes are natural and made from indigenous plants. Proceeds of their sales go straight to numerous Maya communities. The Cooperative has created scholarships for kids, established a nutrition program and a women’s health program.
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Joshua Berman is the creator of MOON MAYA 2012: A Information TO CELEBRATIONS IN MEXICO, GUATEMALA, BELIZE & HONDURAS. This text originally appeared on The Tranquilo Traveler.