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After legalization of burning of the forest in Bolivia, voluntary firemen stand against the worst fires Bolivia ever experienced.

Chaqueo is Bolivian practice of burning down the forest in order to gain cultivable land, in 2019 this practice was made legal recognizing fire as a legal tool for the cultivation of the land. Soon after, the fire in the country got out of control. The movie introduces the problematic of the Chaqueo and shows the effort of voluntary firemen groups, that are trying to save most vulnerable places such as human settlements and natural reservations. The main emphasis of the film is to make the viewer contemplate the reasons this situation is happening and the direction that humanity is taking.

The whole movie was shot by two people in a very limited time frame using small personal budget with a partial support of crowdfunding community. The whole post-production was also realized by voluntary participation.

  • Martin Trabalik
  • Geraldine Zambrana Velez
  • Martin Trabalik
  • Martin Trabalik
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Environmental, Adventure, Current events, Nature
  • Runtime:
    59 minutes 3 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 30, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    24,500 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
    Bolivia, Plurinational State of
  • Country of Filming:
    Bolivia, Plurinational State of
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    La Paz
    Bolivia, Plurinational State of
    September 2, 2021
    World Premiere
    Best Documentary Feature
Director Biography - Martin Trabalik, Geraldine Zambrana Velez

Martin Trabalik is a Czech documentarist based in Prague. In his work, he focuses on social and humanitarian issues. In January 2016 he volunteered during the European refugee crisis on the island of Lesbos. He spent half a year in Greece and the Balkans, becoming interested in photography in the process. Since then he has worked on several projects in Nagorno-Karabakh, Donbas, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and other areas. In 2018 he worked on a documentary series Beyond Catalonia about independentist movements in 12 regions of Europe. In the same year, he was also awarded Czech Press Photo in the category Problems of our age for covering the Rohingya's expulsion into Bangladesh.

Geraldine Zambrana Velez is a journalist, writer and filmmaker from Bolivia. She studied filmmaking at Prague Film School after getting a bachelor degree in International Relations and a master degree in Human Rights at the Institute of Political Science of Paris (Sciences Po). During the period she was working for different NGOs in India, South Africa and France, she started her work as a documentarist, finding in this means of expression an efficient way to show sensitive realities. She directed the short movie “Metamorphosis”, the documentary “Bolivia, donde nadie se cansa ni se rinde” and co-directed the documentary “Incendios”.

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Director Statement

We see the strongest side of the document in the underreported situation that the movie is portraying. While the fires in Brazil were followed by broad public, the situation in Bolivia remained almost unnoticed although it's intensity matched it's Brazilian counterpart. Chiquitania that was mostly affected by the fires is unique region of the world. The Bosque Chiquitano is the world's largest remaining dry forest and the fires have put it into severe risk.
The movie does't however concentrate on the problem from a local point of view but rather tries to draw larger implications for the whole world. Bolivia and the problematic of the fires is introduced as a problem of the society as a whole and the viewer is asked to consider his own participation in the problem. In the movie we try to highlight it's philosophical and emotional aspect using meditative imagery and touching music. We are not explaining the problem but letting the viewer be a part of it.