Junax, thread by thread

Victoria is a young woman from a Mayan community in Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state. As an indigenous woman, she faces different challenges in order to survive in a disadvantaged community where gender biased beliefs are commonplace. Nonetheless, Victoria challenges all stereotypes by leading an all-female collective around the ancient tradition of back-strap weaving, enabling women to earn a living. Meanwhile, Arabelle, Victoria's orphan niece, is growing up. How will Arabelle's story be embroidered upon the tale Victoria is weaving for her?

A story of women’s rights, indigenous emancipation, and a continuous battle to escape poverty.

  • Ambra Reijnen
    Galatée à L'infini (short documentary)
  • Rubi Tobias
  • Rubi Tobias
  • Ambra Reijnen
  • Cyril Reijnen
  • Nicolas Brighi
    Sound recordings
  • Adrian Simg
    Sound recordings
  • Adrian Simg
    Sound Postproduction and Sound Design
  • Andrés Monerris Gallart
    Sound Postproduction and Sound Design
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Junax, hilo por hilo
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 3 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Other, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • MICGénero International Film Festival
    September 25, 2020
    World Premiere
    Official Selection - Resilience
  • Arica Nativa Native Film Festival

    November 6, 2020
    Official Selection - Rural Feature Length
Distribution Information
  • LATIN QUARTER Distribution
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
  • LATIN QUARTER World Sales
    Sales Agent
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Ambra Reijnen, Rubi Tobias

Ambra Reijnen (1993) is a Dutch-Italian filmmaker based in Barcelona. She is interested in how audiovisual content can impact one’s world’s vision and how art can provoke change, even if little by little. Sensory ethnography, visual anthropology and the versatile possibilities of working with found footage and archival material are her main points of interest. In 2016, she worked at the audiovisual department of a human rights center in Mexico, producing audiovisual content to support specific human right campaigns. Successively, Ambra attended a Master of Theory and Practice of Creative Documentary. She codirected “Galatée à L’infini” (2017), which won 12 awards (of which “Golden Mikeldi Documentary Award”, “Grand Award of Spanish Cinema” – ZINEBI Film Festival 2017, Best Film “Latücht Award” – European Film Festival Dokumentart 2018) and made it to important film festivals (Hot Docs; DocumentaMadrid; International Film Festival of Cartagena de Indias; a. o.) and prestigious screening venues (Union Docs, Center for Documentary Art New York; National Arts Museum Reina Sofia, Madrid; Tabakalera, International Center for Contemporary Culture, Donostia/San Sebastian; a.o.) As a film editor, her work has been shown in Loop Barcelona festival. “Junax, thread by thread” (2019) is her first feature length documentary produced by her own production company Promono Multisensory Productions.

Rubi Tobias is a Mexican anthropologist based in Bordeaux. She studied at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico and the Université Bordeaux Montaigne in France. She is currently involved in the writing of a book entitled "Learning to Unlearn the Gender" from the collection diversity without violence of the Eón publishing house. Its main concern is to generate consciousness about the female unequal condition through art and academy by showing the intimate to influence the public and transform the patriarchal structures of perception and domination. With the documentary Junax, Rubi debuts in filmmaking, but it is, in part, the sum of her academic, personal and field experiences applying the gender theory. Since her first university work in 2012 with rural women in Mexico, she felt great empathy for them because of their condition, their solidarity and mutual help and since then she started a work of reflexivity about her own condition as a woman in daily life transforming intuition in knowledge. Rubi meets Ambra and Victoria in Chiapas in 2016 and since then she has been working with them on a creative and liberating process.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The project starts when we, Ambra and Rubi, met in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, in 2016. At the time, Ambra was working in a human rights center in defense of the indigenous peoples and Rubi was investigating social, environmental and gender inequalities as an anthropologist in San Juan Cancuc, a Tzeltal community belonging to the Maya ethnicity. There, she analyzed how women were using cultural practices to adapt to climate change, and there she discovered how women were organizing themselves to escape the situation of poverty in which they were living with their families. The first approaches were difficult: the language, the marginalization, the situation of extreme poverty and the structural gender-based violence that are felt in the streets of the community, made the intervention complicated, but Doña Juana and Victoria opened the doors of their community and those of their house. There, Rubi discovered their art. She was hugely impressed and became passionate about these women and their work. Motivated by a commitment of reciprocity, Rubi shared this passion with Ambra. We offered Victoria to make a video showing the process of the back-strap loom to thank her for her hospitality.

We started making several shots, interviewed women, visited their homes, as we became more and more aware of the reality of young Mayan women like Victoria living in the third poorest municipality in Mexico where 97% of the population lives in poverty, where more than half of the women are illiterate and do not speak Spanish and only 9% participates in an economic activity. Victoria’s story and her ability to steer an all-female weaver’s collective in these circumstances deserve much more than just a promotional video. Together with Victoria, we decided her story was worth a documentary. The investigative work and the communication that we maintained at a distance with Victoria allowed us to return to the community in September 2018.

“Junax, thread by thread” is a story of female legacy and empowerment. It shows how standing together can make quite the difference, and the resilience of whom suffers double institutional discrimination. Day by day and thread by thread, the women are working hard within a context of inequality and social injustice to create opportunities for the future generation.

The ultimate basis of the documentary “Junax”, meaning “Together” in Tzeltal language, is the union of three women from such diverse social and cultural background as are Victoria, Rubi and Ambra. Together, they imagined, conceived and developed “Junax, thread by thread” to give the world a feminine perspective of resilience, solidarity, creativity and work.