The Sacred Land


The Sacred Land/ Tierra Sagrada/Chul stes-bil lum qui, nal

(2000, 18:36 min., Tzeltal and Spanish with English sub-titles)



For more then 500 years indigenous people in Chiapas have been struggling to regain ownership of their lands. Until the Zapatista uprising in 1994, most indigenous people in Chiapas existed by working on large plantations for rich landowners. The Sacred Land describes what life was like on these plantations. It includes stories that go back four generations about slavery-like conditions in which people worked for the rancheros. Produced in the autonomous municipality of "November 17th" and edited by indigenous video makers, The Sacred Land helps provide a context for the events of 1994 through unique insight into the past. Community members reflect on how life has changed since 1994 and express their hopes and dreams for their collective future.


La historia de la explotación de la Tierra y de sus habitantes originales por los finqueros y terratenientes chiapanecos, la organización milenaria de estos pueblos en contra de la opresión y su lucha por recuperar sus derechos y la tierra que les fue violentamente arrebatada.




2000 Amiens International Film and Video Festival, France

2000 Native American Film and Video Festival, New York City, USA

2000 Vermont International Film Festival, Burlington, VT USA

2001 DUTV Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

2001 Arizona International Film Festival, Tucson, Arizona, USA

2001 CONAIE Indigenous Film and Video Festival, Ecuador

2001 First Peoples Festival, Montreal, Canada

2001 ImagineNative Aboriginal Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada

2001 Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT, USA

2002 Beeld voor Beeld, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2002 CineEco, Portugal

2003 FAMAFEST, Portugal

2003 Smithsonian Native American Film and Video Festival, New York City, USA

2006 Skábmagovat Film Festival, Finland