Hello fellow supporters and friends of the Solar Map Project:
I am very excited to announce some major updates for our Solar Map Project. As you know we are telling an untold story that has been muted for millennia, the story of the rock art of the Amambay hills. We are spreading the story beyond academic circles to a larger audience, and thus helping preserve the rock art. We are also giving the Pai Tavytera indians a voice to tell us about their traditions, the struggles they currently face, and their hope for the future. As a Pai Tavytera indian told me "you are helping taking our plight to lands outside of paraguay"
We want people all over the world to virtually explore these rock art sites via photos, videos, and sounds, and help preserve them. We have achieved many things since the last update,but first I want to apologize for the passing of our self imposed deadlines for our documentary, and explain to you why I have chosen to do so. As Douglas Adam said it best: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
All jokes aside, this project has evolved so much from its conception, and our standard of what is a quality product has also changed. I am currently on a major re-write of the script to make the storyline more tight, informative and entertaining. This revision of the script requires us to return to Paraguay to film additional scenes. On this update I want to give you our current timeline, thank the project supporters, and let you know of what we have achieved this year so far.
-Rewrite of the script: Current to December 2015
- Return to Paraguay to film (early next year) 2016
- Editing 2016
- Release End of Year 2016
This upcoming timeline is subject to: Having a script that is satisfying to me and to our team and obtaining the funds for the extra travel and expenses that the new script requires.
I want to assure you that this project is something that I am working on a daily basis, as this is my life's work, that I am passionate about. It took my family and myself years to establish a relationship of friendship and trust with the Pai Tavytera indians, with an unprecedented access and recordings of their culture and oral history. I feel that therefore we are the only ones who can do this at the moment because of that. Not to put more pressure on ourselves, but this project has to be great.
Our project is growing and has become more than just a documentary project. The Solar Map Project has become the center of a network and a cause, a social movement leading the way about Pai Tavytera to the world, and the protection of the rock art. This is how we stand in different areas of the project:
Total Rewrite of the script. As the project has grown from the initial goals it raises the expectations, which along with the changes in technology require a whole new standard of quality. We could release the documentary now, but I feel it's no longer up to our new standards. Therefore I have started a rewrite of the documentary script.
Drone Footage. We have received a dji drone as a gift, and I am very eager to take the drone to film in the amambay hills. I feel that is going to give us a really good perspective of how the hills are situated, and the much protection the ancient rock art site have. In some cases the hills are like a island of green in a sea of cow pastures, and to really show that we need to film from above, as well as making the documentary more visually appealing.
Re-shots. We need to film new scenes since we now will have a new script. My cousin Sharon and Marco have gone to paraguay to do shots for us earlier in the year, and Sharon is returning to Paraguay for a holiday vacation, and will capture some more scenes. (Thank you Prima!) We plan to return sometime early next year to capture more scenes ourselves, including the much needed aerial footage.
Pai Tavytera news:
Smithsonian The National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian has accepted our donation of the sacred altar, and we are in conversation with them to write a magazine article to be included in the smithsonian magazine. This is going to bring a lot of attention to our documentary and the Pai Tavytera indians. At the moment we are waiting to hear from Na Silvia, because we want to include her voice in this article.
Bringing Osmar to the U.S. An idea I have, and this is just planning for the future, but I think it will be cool to bring Osmar, the Pai tavytera indian, to speak after the showing of our documentary to answer questions the audience might have.
The Musical Instrument Museum , an international music museum located in Phoenix, Arizona reached out to us to use our musical recordings. The MIM displays over 6,000 instruments from more than 200 countries of the world. We provided the museum with high-quality recordings of Pai Tavytera indian music that we hope they can use in their display of Paraguay, and have also suggested to donate some of our music instruments we have acquired through the years.
The rock art:
Partnership with local farmers. We are in close touch with the ownerd of the properties, and have decided to follow the suggestion of the archeology team from Spain that right now the best conservation is to try to not do anything such as putting a gate up, or removing the wasp nest etc, but just to continue our work of education of the local population.
Education. Happy that our work is being know beyond Paraguay and the USA, as people have reached out to us about some really ideas of using the rock art to teach the local children. This is going to take our project to the next level, as we are bringing the much needed education of preservation to the local communities.
Archeology. We have grown our network to include archeological experts from neighboring countries such as Brazil and Bolivia, who have provided us with their studies, including images of rock art that is of the same style as the ones we find in Amambay. "foot print style"
In the news:
The First American Art Magazine. A Magazine and online resource for indigenous arts of North and South America did an amazing article that has been really cool, and you can check outhere.
I want to thank everyone who has been crucial to make this project happen, and some people who have been a great inspiration to me.
Big thanks and appreciation to my wife Jenelle, my foremost supporter, who believes in me and gives me support. I could not ask for a better spouse who gives me the space to grow and create this project.
Big thanks to my family members, my father giving me guidance, my brother James, the right hand man in this project, who has been fundamental in making it happen. My family in Paraguay: Uncle Paco, Tia Ramona, Jesse, Elena and family, who have provided transportation, housing and food. Sorry for breaking your car while we traveled the rough rural roads and trails!
Our friends Osmar, one of the first Pai Tavytera indians to go to college in the country, and Chito, childhood friend and advocate of human rights. They are two reliable friends in paraguay who have helped us guide through the Paraguayan red tape and politics.
Dave Farina, who volunteered to help out with the project after reading an article in the Paraguayan press, and has taken time from riding his motorcycle to and visit the indian reservations and provide us some spectacular shots.
Leslie and family who have been one of the biggest supporter of this project, giving us support to achieve our dreams, as well as donating the laptop for Osmar.
Big thanks to the farmers in Paraguay Abogado Hermando Araujo and Don Niz's family whose property is home to the rock art. Thank you for letting our team enter your private property. And we could not make this happen withouth the total support from the Pai tavytera indian, special thanks to them and their leaders, for the trust to make sure we represent them and give them their voice.
And off course to all the kickstarter backers, you made this happen!
I am thinking of including in the the documentary a part about kickstarter and of how this project was funded, so if you want to talk about that on the doc, please reach out to me!
On a personal note, I have volunteered with the Out of Eden Walk, a project of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek who is retracing on foot the global migration of our ancestors in a 21000-mile. Voluntering with this project, I have learned a lot about storytelling. You can read the beautiful written dispatches here. Thank you Paul for elevating the human spirit even when writing about tragedies we face. I have learned with you the importance of humor and taking great care of the trust given by the people you encounter. I have learned with Julia, project manager of the Out of Eden Walk about managing a complex project with care, fine attention to detail, and more important to keeping with the vision of the project. I have learned with Camille, the social media editor, to not only post updates, but to really use social media to engage with the community in an authentic way.
Thank you so much everyone once again for your patience, and believing in this project. It's for you that we keep our highest quality standards, and I am grateful for your support.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me personally with any comments or concerns:
With much appreciation to Abelina Zarate, midwife, healer, and wife of shaman Galeano Suarez, she was a big project supporter even before this project started. Sadly she recently died tragically,but her songs still stay with us as a reminder of the importance of our work. We are humbled, as we are the only ones who ever recorded her singing, and now she is gone. We stay with her songs and fond memories. May she rest in peace.