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The Soy Andina Blog

NELIDA: Two worlds of the Fiesta


Go to both fiestas!! You will clearly see the difference of classes, positions, etc. I love the one in Arpar, that's the one most similar to the one in Llamellin. They have Pallas, Pizarros -- even "danzantes," which is not a traditional dance from December but rather from September in Llamellin, but I guess because Dececember is when everyone gathers in Lima, they thought everything was possible in one fiesta.

NELIDA: an Open Letter about bullfights

Hola queridos todos: Un favor muy grande, si tuvieran la oportunidad de imprimir esta carta y enviarla a Llamellin a "radio Pahuacoto" para su publicacion les agradeceria muchisimo. Un saludo carinoso: Nelida

NELIDA: Room for rent in Lima

Rooms for rent in Lima, Pueblo Libre

$125 per month including utilities

Located one block from Museo Larco Herrera on Ave. Bolivar, walking distance from La Catolica University and Museo Anthropologico. The neighborhood is quiet, with 24 hour security guards, parks, shopping areas and cafes nearby (No chains like McDonalds, but beautiful traditional markets). The rooms are furnished, with wood floors, large closets and windows, plus access to the kitchen. The family who lives in the big house is quiet, friendly and welcoming, composed of 6 members (no children) who all leave for work or school during the day, except for a lady who cooks. Arrangements can also be made for healthy and fresh meals at reasonable price.

Noelia (Spanish or Quechua only) 51-1-4604952 (Peru)
Nelida (English/Spanish/Quechua) nelisilva*at*

California Not Dreamin’

I made it to California. Schlepping three big bags with gear and enough stuff to live five months in Peru. Which felt wierd because I've always traveled light. When I got to California my Aunt and I spend half a day searching for a proper large suitcase to replace the cheap one I'd borrowed. I spent the other half packing and re-packing. No romping on the beach with starlets for me. However I did manage to eat vegan food in West Hollywood and receive energy healing work (courtesy of my Aunt). Just to remind myself I was in California.

Two days later I flew to the Bay Area.

How to fundraise blah blah blah

Did a panel presentation on fundraising for filmmakers today at The Foundation Center with my pals Kathy Leichter, Phil and Michelle Coe.

I love this role - speaking, coaching, engaging with people. And realize I’ve got lots to share with first-time funders and filmmakers. I imagine doing more of this type of work - really, there’s a seminar leader or teacher lurking inside. But first, get the film done…

While sitting on the panel I was thinking to myself “do these guys really know what they’re getting into?” I didn’t…

Party News in NY and California

Greetings everyone:

As promised, an update to keep you informed and involved in our
Finish the Film Campaign.

We had a terrific response to last week's eNewsletter. Many old
friends wrote - new ones too. Several people made online donations.
It's always amazing to see how powerful the Internet can be to build
community and generate enthusiasm. Which, after all, is the mission of
this whole "Soy Andina" work.


A reminder about our party next Wednesday Oct. 27 at the Shapolsky
Gallery in New York. We want to fill the space so we've added a
lower-priced donor option - $100. Gets you drinks, appetizers, video
clips, performances of Andean and Afro-Peruvian dance. Plus
conversation with the director and "cast" (a $39.99 value alone!). For
$250 (and above) we'll put your name in the credits and send a DVD of
the film when finished. All contributions are tax deductible
and pay for editing. RSVP here


NELIDA: Peruvians and Miami

Years before Fujimori, it was trendy for some middle-class Limeños to go to Miami, but most of them went to visit rather than move to escape the Peruvian political or economic turmoil. Of course, for my family living in Llamellin, Miami was a place you wouldn't even dream of going to - even Lima was a foreign place then! It was just a place you might hear stories about. My father knew that it was a place where Cubans opposing Castro settled after the revolution. Anyway, my parents never took time for vacation, maybe because, living in Llamellin, they never had the need smile

After Alan Garcia and Fujimori, the migration of low-income or no-income Peruvians grew considerably. Meanwhile the "pitucos" stayed in Peru to get richer than ever before. Today, the middle-class has shrunk and the gap between rich and poor is huge.

I'll go and see the documentary about that Peruvian who lives in Miami!

Pic of the day: Nelida


October 2004 eNewsletter


S O Y A N D E - N E W S

E-news for friends and supporters of “Soy Andina”
A documentary about Peru, dance, and the quest for home

Oct 2004 Issue #14

“As a Latin immigrant, I was moved by your determination to show that ‘even when we don’t share the same roots, we share common humanity.’ Common humanity is what we need for a better world today.” (Ludy Schuverer, Paris)

“Your pioneering use of technology to build community is what every TV broadcaster, film distributor, academic or non-profit institution and corporate marketing department is trying to figure out.” (Jane Clemmons, San Mateo, CA)

“Please finish soon! Everyone is bothering me, asking ‘when can I see the movie?’” (Nelida Silva, NY)

(Share YOUR thoughts on our NEW BLOG


1. Letter from Mitch *IMPORTANT NEWS*
2. Recent News
3. Community Calendar
4. Recent Supporters

Early Morning Thoughts

Awoke at 4:30 am this morning. Lie in bed 20 minutes thinking about what I have to do before leaving for West Coast in three weeks. Anxiety deepens. Stagger into living room and play the Rodney Yee 15 minute AM Yoga tape.  Think “why the hell do I forget to do this?” Return to bed with laptop. Read other people’s blogs. Write this one. Mull whether to head to Cosi’s or Starbucks later to work. Lately Cosi’s has been driving me nuts with the influx of Upper West Side moms and their stroller kids. Or yesterday when some media sales guys, identically dressed in their blue button-down shirts/khaki uniforms, interview some actor guy looking for a job at the table 4 feet away.  They offered him the job with all the usual psuedo-fake business guy speak - welcome aboard the team! I know, I’ve been there. Though maybe mixed in was some envy, ‘cause I hate not being part of a team myself. Independent solo work is not my thing.

So what I hope to do today: draft post-production plan and send to Raul in Lima. Draft the long-delayed eNewsletter. Doing a procrastination number on that one. Make some calls to prospective funders. Meet Cindy to hand over tape to transcribe (note to myself got to find more volunteers). Meet Liliana at 6:15 to discuss upcoming fundraising event at the Shapolsky Gallery.

It’s a Team Effort….

There’s a million people - ok, maybe a hundred - who are helping me get things done. Already this morning sanity’s been restored by hearing from my friend Bud at Sonnet Media who’s helping me launch this blog.

Why am I doing this?

I don’t mean the weblog - I mean the entire project. Yesterday I got raked over the coals by a well-known producer who’s first reaction to the trailer I showed him was “absolutely not compelling.” That was after my stammering attempt to describe the project prompted him to say “I don’t know what your movie is about.” Ouch.

I probably could have done a better job in Spanish. Even quecha.

I ended up turning off the phones and crawling into the covers at 9 pm Saturday night. My head hurt.

This morning I reviewed his comments - hand scribbled in my favorite Moleskine notebook which if I were to lose I’d crawl back into bed even earlier, like during daylight hours. And yes, I’ve got to deal with them. Like:
- Who’s going to buy it?
- What’s your logline?
- Your job as a director is to give me a compelling reason to watch
- why is their story compelling? What motivates them? Why is it important?
- I’ve never seen pictures about immigrants returning to their culture
- I want you take me on a journey
- How can you make this more emotionally compelling?
- I need to feel connected...find emotional scenes
- You have to think out of the box. Maybe make two 20-minute videos, one of each story (Cynthia and Nelida), with extra footage of dances and commentary, and sell them as a dvd (he didn’t see the connection between the stories).

Other thing is, he hammered home point that it’s possible to get money - real money - upfront from TV, without a minute of video shot or script. It’s about a compelling idea, clearly stated. Like in one sentence.

Good feedback now that I get to read it - even if it was tough to hear at the time.

CYNTHIA: Dancing my ass off

Hey Mitch...

I'm alive! Next week I finally start to move into my new place and things are running smoothly. I met the director of dance at JM Arguedas - Victoria Almas - and she was surprised that I was in "las classes de extencion" instead of being a student within the JMA dance program. She's looking into changing that - thank God.

I'm actually looking towards dancing with a group here - Unalma - a group that focuses on Afro-Peruvian dance and expression. They are professional and the moves look like a challenge. I'm going to one of their performances on the 23rd of this month. Besides that, I´m getting used to the irony here in Lima and I'm getting around much easier and with less paranoia.

So when do you think you´ll be coming back? How are things over there in NY? Damn yo, I miss my soul food. But I cant really complain yet. Wait till I go to Trujillo... I heard the food over there is tasty.

CYNTHIA: Alive and Kicking

Hey everyone, I´m alive and kicking (literally) here in Peru. Well so far I am now teaching at both places, San Marcos and Jose Maria Arguedas. And I decided to take up this other opportunity to teach at a high school en el Cono Este de Lima. I´m going to teach Hip-hop there and hopefully they will have a presentation in October. It was really weird how it all happened.

August 19, 2004 Lima, Peru

Jalla-E Conference at San Marcos University
Mitch presents Soy Andina preview as part of the annual conference for students of Latin American Literature

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