The Urban Outfitters Creative Grant

 

What's your BIG idea?

My BIG idea is to raise awareness of the destruction of thousands years old rock art found in the remote jungles of Paraguay, and thereby preserve a vital part of the culture of its guardians, the Pai Tavytera Indians, by making a documentary titled "The Solar Map Project!"
 

https://vimeo.com/59375027

  
 
Let me introduce myself. My name is Frank Weaver, I started working with the company in '08 as a sales associate. I am currently the Men's Manager at the Mall at Millennia in Orlando, FL.
I love working for Urban Outfitters because it empowers me to be creative, and has a great philosophy of "shared fate." I am super stoked that the company is giving this creative grant because for me,  the more time I have , the more quality interview and visuals I can capture in this documentary.
I like to say this project its my "life's work" since I wanted to make this documentary since I was a child. Early this year, I was able to successfully raise 15 thousand dollars on kickstarter to fund the project. A dream come true indeed. I have the money. Now, all I need is the time!
Let me tell you more about my  project...
 
Right in the "Heart of South America" in Paraguay, lies a hidden mystery...
 
 
 
 
Ancient inscriptions believed to be between 5 to 20 thousand years old.
 

 
We know so little of who made them and what they might mean...
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        The mythology and oral storytelling of the native Guaranies, hold vital clues to understand this mystery...
 
 
Due to the encroachment of "civilization," these ancient inscriptions are being lost at a distubing rate. Slash and burn agriculture, ranching, and vandalism are causing irreparable damage to these archeological treasures, and the culture of the natives is being lost in the process.
 
 
 
 Once I was initiated into the tribe, I received the name of "Cacique Americano," the "American Chief". I was given this name as a symbol of my new family's trust in my abilities to preserve their culture by recording their ancient songs and giving a voice to their pleas to protect their land, their heritage, their life. I hope to be able to use my position to gain insight into the mythology and spiritual believes of the Pai Tavytera, to decipher the ancient rock art, and give them a voice to speak their culture.  
 

 
 
 
 
This project involves filming in remote wildernesses and Indian territories deep in South American jungles. Under best circumstances, the travel time from Orlando, Fl to the film locations in Amambay is three days, each way. I been with the company for 5 years now, but I would only have about a week of vacation to go back home to film this documentary. That would give me only one day in the field! If I were to get the most vital support I need from U.O, 3 weeks time, I would use one week for travel but have two entire weeks to visit, interview, and film these inscriptions and get interviews with the local Shamans and Spiritual Leaders. I have spoken to my store manager Daniel Fergurson for me to take my vacation in September, the slowest time this time of year, but that still would only be a week. 

 

 
Our project has no financial gain. In fact, I am making the documentary Creative Commons.
That means that once released anyone will be able to freely downland and share it.
My Big Idea is for this story to reach the largest audience possible.
  
 
I have gotten a lot of positive press about the project on magazine and newspapers such as Popular Science Magazine, Archeology News,
main Paraguayan Newspapers, and even appeared on TV!
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
There are film festivals throughout the world that are very interested in showing the documentary once it's finished, such as Global Peace Film Festival and Asuncion Film.
 

I want to also say how awesome it is to have received support for this project from the U.O team here in Orlando. Ranging from our District Managers, to my fellow managers, to merchandisers and associates. They believe in me and in the project. I have their full support. They even helped financially by donating to the Kickstarter fund, and donating to buy solar lights to given out as donations. (Solar Lights is the most affordable way to make the biggest impact on their lives)
 

 Also when an article came out on a Native American art Magazine, I was feature on our district's Instagram!

I am one of the few non natives to have access to some of these sites, since I have deep respect and admiration for their culture, an have full permision to film them and to record their oral storytelling. This documentary needs to be done as soon as possible as rock art is degrading quickly. I have the money for the equipment all I need is the time!

 

Grant Proposal

 
Where will the money go?
I will use around $1200 to pay for the plane ticket, and the rest to buy 15 solar lamps to be given to the Indians.
 
What will I do with my time?
 
Week 1: Travel from Orlando, FL to Amambay, Paraguay. That takes 3 days at best. Once in the field I will meet face-to-face with the local leaders, authorities, and collaborators. Once this is taken care of, I will immediately start filming and visiting the inscription sites. Most of the sites are difficult to reach due to the state of roads in this region.
A- Ita Guazu site, privately own, site with the most inscriptions and the most in danger of fire damage.
B- Lorito Picada, site where the Solar Map stone was found, easy to get to by vandals.
C- Cerro Guazu, main spiritual site of the Pai Tavytera Indians.
 
Week 2: This week, I will visit the reservations for additional footage: lifestyle, traditions, rituals, and songs. I want to record this ancient song that has never been recorded, that last 24 hours!
A- Interview with Shaman Galeano Suarez
B- Interview with Na Silvia, spiritual leader.
C- Interview with local park Rangers.
 
Week 3: Time-lapses and Landscapes shots, and travel back to Orlando.
A- Sun rises and Sunset.
B- Landscapes.

 

 

 

 

And we get to blog too??

I love blogging! I had plan to send some updates from the field. You can check my blog updates for the Solar Map Project here, and blogs from my past projects here.
Even though I will have limited internet access traveling through remote areas, I will still be able to upload amazing pictures and cool updates from the field once or twice a week.

 

 

 

To recap, my goal is to produce a world-class documentary highlighting the need to preserve, protect, and promote the ancient Inscriptions and their guardians the Pai Tavytera. I wish to travel during this month of September which is the slowest time in our store, and it is Spring-time in Paraguay which makes for beautiful footage.

You can read more about my project on the kickstarter page or in our website.

Thank you and look forward to hear from you all!
-Frank Weaver