Botanicas (literal translation: "botany stores") can be found in Hispanic and Caribbean communities in cities across America. Most botanicas purvey goods and services including herbal and folk medicines, religious items, and holistic health advice, while a smaller subset offer spiritual procedures such as cleansing or spell-casting. In Chicago, more than a dozen botanicas can be found operating along or near 26th Street from Kedzie to Kostner in Little Village, the heart of the city's Mexican immigrant community.
This video is part of a series profiling Chicago businesses, subcultures and landscapes. These short, lyrical documentaries aspire to be art cinema, ethnographies and experiments in form.
Brian Ashby's co-directorial debut, Scrappers scrappersmovie.com, won Best Documentary at the 2010 Chicago Underground Film Festival and made Roger Ebert's list of top documentaries for that year. Emmanual Camacho is an instructor at Yollocalli Arts Reach, an initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art; he recently shot and acted in the narrative feature Maydays maydaysmovie.com (2013 Chicago Latino Film Festival). Gabriela Fernandez is a journalist and travel writer who recently arrived in Chicago after earning her MA in International Development and Cooperation. Akemi Hong is Senior Designer at JB Chicago and an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Grid is funded in part by the Chicago Instructional Technology Foundation Digital Media Production Fund.