Bendición del Agua
Poem Films • 7m 14s
Olivia Romo pays respects to water with a poem por la gente y por la sangre de la tierra. "Bendición del Agua" is a glance into New Mexico’s acequia landscape as seen through the eyes of a young woman expressing both the perseverance and loss of traditions, language, and culture. The film seeks to give voice to New Mexico’s acequieros who’ve carried on acequia traditions despite challenges of development, rural gentrification and cultural erosion. It is a cinematic awakening for younger generations to honor ancestral traditions that help lead toward a sustainable future through acts of charity, respect, resiliency and a regard for water, land and cultural preservation.
Poem by Olivia Romo. Film by Daniel Sonis, with artistic direction from Levi Romero. Special appearance by Benita Martínez. From the "Moving Rural Verse" series of poem films.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Olivia Romo is a farmer, poet, and water rights activist from the village of Taos, in northern New Mexico. Being raised in this rural community she has a strong connection to the land through traditional farming, acequias and food preservation. After graduating from the University of New Mexico in 2015, she became Communications and Outreach Coordinator at the New Mexico Acequia Association, a statewide grassroots organization that defends water rights and cultivates an inter-generational movement to protect water resources and educate people about the various aspects of acequia systems. Olivia is also a recognized spoken word artist. In 2011, she was titled the New Mexico State Slam Poetry Champion. Her oral history and cookbook, The Gift of Good Food, brought her the Rising Scholar Award at the University of New Mexico. Olivia is a bilingual poet whose language is immersed in the regional Manito dialect and culture of Northern New Mexico. Olivia intentionally focuses her activism and poetry to educate and mobilize New Mexicans around the risks and uncertainties of their natural resources.
Daniel Sonis is a filmmaker, musician, and music producer. As a filmmaker he has produced over 50 documentary videos for the Albuquerque nonprofit community. His current work focuses on documentary filmmaking to support social justice and create positive change. He collaborated with New Mexico's Centennial Poet, Levi Romero, on a short film Going Home Homeless which won the People's Choice Award at the internationally renowned Taos Shortz Film Festival.
Levi Romero is from the Embudo Valley of northern New Mexico. He is Assistant Professor in the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at the University of New Mexico and Director of the New Mexico Cultural Landscapes Certificate Program. He was awarded the post of New Mexico Centennial Poet in 2012. His poetry collections include A Poetry of Remembrance: New and Rejected Works, In the Gathering of Silence, and Sagrado: A Photopoetics Across the Chicano Homeland (co-authored with Spencer Herrera and Robert Kaiser).
Produced by the Western Folklife Center in 2017.
Made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtPlace America, the Community Foundation of Utah, Western Folklife Center stakeholders, and by the multitude of staff, artists, volunteers, and community members working behind the scenes.
Brought to you by the Western Folklife Center, using story and cultural expression to connect the American West to the world.
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