Tras el Velo Verde (Lifting the Green Screen)

An ethnographic documentary that showcases the everyday complexity of conservation in practice in Costa Rica's biodiversity hot spot - the Osa Peninsula - Lifting the Green Screen (Tras el Velo Verde) opens a window into the lives of activists, farmers, and entrepreneurs.
Concurrent with the growing sense of alarm regarding environmental degradation, climate change, and species loss, Costa Rica has been increasing its status as a leader in ecotourism, a “greening” nation of remarkable biodiversity, and a country that centralizes its environmental politics in influential ways. Our documentary, Lifting the Green Screen, follows Costa Rican environmentalists, burgeoning campesino-led ecotourism initiatives, and socio-environmental conflicts in the rural and biodiversity-rich Osa Peninsula. Rather than focusing only on the famed gold miners or extolling the unique biodiversity of the region and its “protectors,” this film more broadly covers the debates over environmentalism in practice and local responses to land controls. It explores practices at the interaction of protecting subsistence, biodiversity conservation, and ventures afforded by the growing tourism dominated economy.

  • Clate Korsant
  • Matteo Saltalippi
    Biographies of Struggle (2017)
  • Claudia Giannetto
    The Campfire Project (2018)
  • Clate Korsant
  • Claudia Giannetto
    The Campfire Project (2018)
  • Matteo Saltalippi
    Biographies of Struggle (2017)
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Tras el Velo Verde
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Ethnographic, Latin America, Environmental, Visual Anthropology, documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 30 minutes 19 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    55,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Costa Rica
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Mimesis Documentary Festival
    Boulder, CO
    United States
    August 12, 2020
    Best Feature Documentary, Audience Award
  • Festival Internacional de Cine Documental de Buenos Aires (FIDBA)
    Buenos Aires
    September 17, 2020
    South American
  • Global Peace Film Festival
    Winter Park, FL
    United States
    September 21, 2020
  • Macquarie University International Ethnographic Film Festival
    October 9, 2020
  • Festival Cinemistica
Director Biography - Claudia Giannetto

Claudia is a London based anthropologist and film-maker. She completed her PhD in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she taught Anthropology of Art, Gender Theory and Visual Anthropology.
Claudia has been conducting long-term ethnographic fieldwork in rural Mexico, researching the role of theatre in ethnic identity’s formation processes, and the impact of tourism and development programs on the indigenous population. Concurrently, her work is concerned with exploring the practical, aesthetic, and ethical implications of using film as an experimental means of knowing a cultural reality.
Claudia has produced several short documentaries across different countries, including Mexico, France, Hungary, India, Germany, UK, Greece and Costa Rica. Her first feature documentary, The Campfire Project, has been screened and awarded internationally.

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Director Statement

Conservationist practice in the Osa Peninsula represents a conflict-ridden, ambiguous, and polarizing phenomenon, entangled with Costa Rica’s history of elite domination over the extraction and use of resources, indoctrination, and the influence of external interests and global agendas.
Shot over one month and a half in the biodiversity-rich Osa Peninsula but based on long-term anthropological fieldwork, Lifting the Green Screen (Tras el Velo Verde) follows Costa Rican environmentalists, burgeoning ecotourism initiatives, and socio-environmental conflicts in the Osa region. Through the collection of ethnographic vignettes, interviews, personal narratives and the use of participatory visual methods, this ethnographic documentary provides a multi-faceted account of the different manifestations of environmentalism in the region, including government policies, NGO activity, environmental education, grass roots activism, and ecotourism.
Departing from the common focus upon “big data,” top-down and institutional narratives, the film seeks to explore how people locally interpret environmental preservation and take action; how local understandings and discourses relate to and differ from the state discourses; and how people contest the governmental and trans-local agendas reframing the issues of social and environmental justice.
Revealing environmentalism to be a more complex phenomenon than the static monolithic entity depicted by its diverse proponents, the film foregrounds the importance of understanding the entanglement of knowledge, power, and competing regimes of value in the political ecology of the “greenest country of the world.”