A mythical day in the life of painter Julie Hedrick: she weaves her creative engagements and those of her family life with Peter Wetzler, composer, pianist and creator of the original soundtrack for this film, their daughter Ariadne and their son Matthew, in the old church in Kingston, NY that is their home and studio.. This film premiered at the 2002 Woodstock Film Festival, in the historic Bearsville Theater, to a live soundtrack performed by Wetzler.
These interviews of Pemón people are part of THE MAKING OF A CHIEF, a feature-lenght experimental documentary by Isabel Barton, a work-in-progress. These individuals were chosen by Kamarakoto (one of the 3 Pemón tribes) Hortensia Berti, because of their first-hand knowledge of their indigenous culture, which is endangered, and their close relationship with her great-grandfather, their legendary chief, Alejo Calcaño. These interviews are of great value: they are intimately conducted in Pemón language by Berti –the camera no more than an observer. The content of these interviews weaves the history of the Pemón people, never before recorded, and the events that brought Chief Calcaño to the forefront to unite them under one canon of law that was their own, with the clear intention of preserving their land and traditions against the invasion of mining and the intrusions of outer civilizations. It also highlights the interactions of Calcaño, and therefore his people, with the 20th century explorers who "discovered" Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall on earth (Churún Vená to the Pemón), mapped it and made it known to the outside world –notably Jimmie Angel and Ruth Robertson. The interviews also serve as a documentation of the Pemón language, one of the many endangered languages in need of preservation.
Deep inside the oldest rock formation on the planet, at the foot of the mountain that houses the earth’s highest waterfall, Kamaracoto Indian Hortensia Berti stands at a crossroads. She wants her children and their children to inherit the traditions of her tribe. But her world, although remote, is influenced by tourism missionary schooling and Direct-TV. Day by day, the thread to her culture grows thinner, and her answers to the questions of her children more tentative. Deep in her heart she hears fragments of the teachings of her great-grandfather, a legendary chief. To piece those teachings together she must access the minds of the elders, crisscrossing the wide savannahs that border the Amazon forest, to their mud-huts. What unfolds is an unsuspected frontier of myth, magic and a deep communion with nature, for the new generations to inherit –not just the Kamarakotos, but all of us who have lost our connection to the earth. This film weaves the stories of the Kamarakoto people with the history of the 20th century explorers –notably Jimmie Angel and Ruth Robertson– who "discovered" Angel Falls (Churún Vená to the Kamarakotos), mapped it, and made it known to the rest of the world.