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Es Baluard explores the contemporary art scene in Ecuador

30 August, 2016

“Ecuador bajo tierra” (“Ecuador underground”) is an initial approach to contemporary creation in Ecuador, a country that is tremendously interesting and active on the art scene, of which Es Baluard has considered it fundamental to show some of its lesser-known grassroots.

This project is presented from the perspective of an investigation and a festival that has propitiated the diffusion of independent films, guerrilla, fringe, subterranean movies or, more precisely, underground films. The term coined by the well-known cultural organisation Ochoymedio (Centro Cultural Ocho y Medio, CCOYM) based in Quito came into being after an investigation was put forward and carried out which materialised in the book Ecuador Bajo Tierra, videografías en circulación paralela (2009) written by Miguel Alvear and Christian León. With this project, Ocho y medio made a substantial shift to its activity as an exhibitor, discovering and promoting new routes for audiovisual practices. The study, valuation and visibilization of non-professional or fringe movies are important components for understanding Ecuadorian culture.

This proposal allowed conceptual and methodological guidelines to be established, in order to discover and catalogue works unaffiliated to the traditional circuits, making for a profound breach between the cult and the popular. This investigation also led, in 2012, to the 1st Ecuador Bajo Tierra Festival, directed by the authors of the book themselves, who also organised to following two festivals with the support of the Ocho y Medio (CCOYM) Cultural Centre.

Four years later, Ecuador Bajo Tierra passes the frontiers of a festival and its methodologies. It signifies a positioning through this fringe cinema which shakes up the certainties of officialdom and questions, disturbs and questions again. They are films made with ultra-low budgets and actors and techniques that have formed along the way. The organisers open up the doors to these films because they firmly believe that the valuation and making visible of non-professional or fringe films is important for understanding audiovisual culture. A culture that spreads and creates links with similar processes in other countries.

In the Observatori of Es Baluard, visitors can become familiar with the project through the documentation of the four festivals and a selection of films shown à la carte from 30th August to 9th October.

Miguel Alvear is a visual artist, film director and cultural manager. His projects include, outstandingly, the experimental feature film Black Mama, the photographic project “Divas de la tecnocumbia: Mec-Pop”, The first Homemade Film Festival and the documentary Ecuador Bajo Tierra.

Christian León is a teacher, researcher and film critic. A specialist in visuality, communication and contemporary art. Author of the book Cine de la marginalidad: realismo sucio y violencia urbana. He was coordinator of the Ecuadorian section of the Diccionario Iberoamericano, edited by the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España (Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers). He directs the research project “Imaginando al otro. El documental indigenista del Ecuador” (“Imagining the other. The indigenist documentary of Ecuador”).


-Sicarios manabitas (Fernando Cedeño, 2004, 89 min.)
-El destructor invisible (Nixon Chalacamá, 1996, 74 min.)
-Más allá del mall (Miguel Alvear, 2009, 52 min.)
-La tunda (Elías Cabrera, Esmeraldas, 2010, 90 min.)


30 August, 2016
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