Christopher Hewlett

Grant Type

Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Independent Scholar

Grant number

Gr. 9389

Approve Date

October 18, 2016

Project Title

Hewlett, Dr. Christopher Erik, Independent Scholar, Charlottesville, VA - To aid filmmaking on ''Amahuaca: Building the Future': A Collaborative Film Project in Peruvian Amazonia' - Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

CHRISTOPHER ERIK HEWLETT, an independent scholar, Charlottesville, Virginia, was awarded a Fejos Ethnographic Film Fellowship in October 2016 to aid filmmaking on ”Amahuaca: Building the Future’: A Collaborative Film Project in Peruvian Amazonia.’ The Postdoctoral Fellowship was spent working on a series of inter-connected films about Amahuaca people from communities on the Inuya River in the central Peruvian Amazon. Throughout the course of the fellowship the grantee collaborated with Fernando Valdivia, a Peruvian filmmaker, social commentator and professor of cinema and filmmaking. While we made three separate films during the fellowship, including one documenting a health crisis in an Amahuaca community, the project is oriented around the creation of an Indigenous Cultural Heritage Center and formation of a new indigenous political federation, which took place over a three-day event in 2015. While centering the narrative on this event the film explores the themes of memory, transformation, cultural heritage, and collective resilience. These themes emerge as the film follows three generations of Amahuaca people as they navigate contemporary life, reflect upon their lives and share their hopes for the future. The title, ‘Amahuaca Siempre’ (Amahuaca Always) comes from the final scene of the documentary when Carlos Melendez, the only Amahuaca bilingual schoolteacher, explains the importance of being Amahuaca for himself and why he continues fighting to make younger Amahuaca people proud of their heritage and identity.