DER Documentary

Mi Chacra (My Land)

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by Jason Burlage
color, 100 min, 2009

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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The film tells the story of a young indigenous Peruvian man who has lived his entire life, but for a few brief months, in a small farming village in the mountains above the Sacred Valley. Like everyone in his community, he has been raised as a farmer. And like many, he has been instilled with the belief that life in the city would be better than the life he leads.

When Feliciano was young, his father would tell him, "You are not going to be like me. You will go to the city, you will study, and you will become something more." When Feliciano was sixteen, his father sent him to the city, where he worked and studied. Shortly after leaving his village, Feliciano's mother came to him to tell him his father was sick. Five days later, his father died. Being the eldest son, Feliciano was forced to leave his school and return to his village to work his father's fields and care for his younger siblings.

"Luck did not accompany me, and I lost my education." The loss has stuck with Feliciano as he has grown and made a life for himself in his village. Now he has a young son of his own, and his desire is the same as his father's. He will see his son study in the city, and become something more than he has become.

Framed by the seasons, the film chronicles a year in the young man's life, from planting to the harvest, and through a season of work as a porter on the Inca Trail. We see the processes, passed from father to son for generations, of planting crops, tending to them, and harvesting. We witness the transformation of the spectacular landscape from the browns and yellows of the dry season to the vivid greens of the rainy season and the harvest. And we witness the back-breaking work of the porters as they make their way through the mountains on the trail to Machu Picchu. We learn of Feliciano's driving desire, and witness a year in its pursuit.

Interwoven with Feliciano's story is the complex history of his people. In his often poetic native language of Quechua, Feliciano recounts the history of the Incas, the conquest by the Spanish, and the years of the haciendas.

The film paints a vivid picture of this man's life, of the conflict between his love of the land and the work he has learned from his father, and the desire to see his son living what he sees as a better life in the city.

“Stunning expansive mountainous scenery with an intimate human focus... This is independent film making at its best; taking us far away...uncovering the diversity in the world that reveals what we all have in common.” — Stewart Nusbaumer, The Huffington Post
“...Burlage paints a vivid portrait of the complexities facing the future of rural communities throughout Peru.” — Starz Denver Film Festival
“Beautifully told... The filmmaker has a deep understanding of his subject, and (the film) puts mountain life under a microscope.” — Eric Valli, Jury member, Banff Mountain Film Festival
“No stereotypes, just life, beautiful and cruel at the same time. I love the honesty of Mi Chacra and was touched by the patient and beautiful approach to this Peruvian reality.” — Roberto Forns-Broggi, Metro State College of Denver

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Honorable Mention, Animation and Effects, The Archaeology Channel Int'l Film and Video Festival, 2012
Special Heart of Slavonia Award, 9th International Film Festival - The Heart of Slavonia, Croatia, 2012
Grand Prize Inkafest Film Festival, Huraz Peru, 2011
Honorable Mention, SVA Film & Media Festival, 2011
Grand Prize, Banff Mountain Film Festival, 2010
The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival, USA, 2013
World Films Festival "Three Elements", Poland, 2012
29th Autrans International Mountain Film Festival, France, 2012
9th International Film Festival - The Heart of Slavonia, Croatia, 2012
22nd Montreal First Peoples' Festival, Canada, 2012
XIV Moscow International Festival of Mountaineering and Adventure Films, 2011
VII INKAFEST Mountain & Environment Film Festival, Lima, Peru, 2011
Festival Filmar En America Latina, Geneva, 2011
Starz Denver Film Festival, 2009
Calgary International Film Festival, 2010
International Documentary Encounters Colombia, Bogotá, 2010
Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, New York, 2010
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Missoula, Montana, 2010
It's All True International Documentary Film Festival, Sao Paulo/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2010

Related Resources
Interview with filmmaker Jason Burlage on Mi Chacra: Podcast | Transcript
Official website:
Film's facebook page

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts