Jats'uts Meyah: Midwife Eternal

In a remote Maya community in Yucatán, México, women follow centuries-old ways of living, from cooking over an open fire to giving birth in hand-woven hammocks. A complete lack of work forces men to travel, while women stay in the pueblo, as immigration seems to be the only option for economic progress.

The last midwife of the community, Bacila Tzek Uc, reveals the secrets of the ancestral knowledge that guides her sacred work. From natural medicine to prenatal massages, Bacila empowers women with the tools for natural childbirth. But Bacila is 90 years old, and her patients are unsure how they will go on without her, intimidated by public hospitals, where doctors commonly resort to cesarean sections.

The women rely on Bacila for conserving their cultural traditions. Rumor has it that she’ll never die, because if she does, “Who will tell the stories?”

  • Amanda Strickland
  • Oscar Estrada
  • Amanda Strickland
  • Bacila Tzek Uc
    Key Cast
  • Amanda Strickland
  • Irán Sánchez Ruiz
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Jats'uts Meyah
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 17 minutes 36 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,150,000 MXN
  • Country of Origin:
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  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Amanda Strickland

I am a first-time, independent filmmaker living and working in Southern Mexico, collaborating with Maya people to document endangered ancestral traditions. With an educational background in Anthropology & writing, I became a filmmaker, because I seek to empower indigenous voices - especially women - in the most authentic way possible.

Originally from the Mississippi Delta, I began studying in Yucatán as an anthropologist in 2011. Since this time, I've fallen in love with the modern Maya, folding my own personal narrative into the embroidery of southern Mexico, establishing a community arts non-profit, called Ko'ox Boon, along the way. Through this work as an activist, I realized that film is one of the most potent ways to create large-order social change. "Jats'uts Meyah" is my first film.

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Director Statement

The mission of Meyah Films is to revitalize ancestral, indigenous wisdom through the art of storytelling. Using only the voices of the community, my artistic style endeavors to present a new form of visual anthropology, while also doing the important work of conserving cultural stories and treasured ancient, sustainable life-ways.