Whackala | Day 26: over and out
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Whackala, Animation, Ireland, Documentary,
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Day 26: over and out

For those who are blind to children working in the amber business and in Mexico

It’s almost 8pm on our last day of filming in Chiapas. We had a second great interview with an amber shop owner and collector this morning and finished on time to make our second appointment with the Simojovel/San Cristobal amber master & saviour. We’re even slightly fashionably late, about 15 minutes; his stall is well shut and locked, we call the daughter’s -or wife’s, I’m not sure anymore- cell number again and when she hears who’s calling she tells us that he has just left Simojovel, 15 minutes ago… We press for a time again later in the afternoon, 3:30, 4… I don’t know why we keep taking his arrangements seriously, but we would really like to film him and have his opinion as part of the film, since it’s quite a strong one to say the least. We go for a relaxed lunch to wait for 3 or 4pm while we recall the findings, the stories and the myths we’ve learnt and heard through the project. It has been intense indeed and though relatively smooth, we’re all just sorry that we took this last contributor’s word the first time around instead of sticking to our Ocosingo plan. Alicia will chase that interview when we’re gone, but she may have to chase this one too.

It’s 4pm and we duly go to his stall; not a sing again, but apparently his son comes to open the stall at 5pm. Our eagerness for the project makes us wait, until we can speak to his son, who says he’s in Simojovel, we even speak with someone at his home in San Cristobal, who also says he’s not in town. Right, enough is enough, we leave a note with his son with our contact number and go home to pack.

As we do we’re still hopeful. I wonder how this man makes any business at all with such a complicated working, personal and geographical life! Still, we’re very happy with what we’ve achieved and we’ll be going home with great footage and the rough structure worked out and, as usual, Whackala style, embellishments that mean more work for Paul: graphics and animation explaining the history of amber.

It’s back to Mexico City tomorrow for two nights with my Mexicanised brother and his family. Maybe we’ll hear from Alicia that our friend the amber artisan contacts her in the same day to arrange a meeting. We live and learn, we should have run back for the equipment that morning in Simojovel when we went to visit him at his -first- home, with him just out of bed, full of lyricism and angry emotion and grabbed the moment.

So long for now, I’ll write some updates on the project back in Dublin -although the postproduction process could be incredibly dull to read about, but we’ll hopefully hear news from Alicia on the two remaining interviews.