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Cartoons featuring the Native Peoples
of Central and South America

     

Patoruzito; El Secreto de los Selknam (Editorial Amanuta); Nikte; Sapo Feo (Tikitiklip)


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Feature-Length Cartoons
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FEATURE-LENGTH CARTOONS:
The Emperor's New Groove

THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE
Walt Disney Studios.
Director: Mark Dindal
Art directors: Thomas Cardone, Thomas Stimpson
2000. 77 minutes. Rated G.
Setting: Inca Empire
Indian Content: high
Language: English
Released on: DVD

This entertaining comedy could have taken place anywhere, and at any time-- or at least, wherever there is a bratty emperor threatening to demolish peasant lands in order to build a royal swimming pool. John Goodman is the peasant Pacha who befriends the emperor (David Spade) who has been turned into a llama. The film shows very little of Incan culture except for the wonderful backgrounds, which creatively play upon motifs of Incan art and architecture. Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton also provide voices, and Sting wrote an original song for this film, which came out the same year as the very similar The Road to El Dorado. The sequel, Kronk's New Groove (2005), besides showing the usual decline in quality you'd expect from a sequel, sheds the Incan theme altogether--it could pass for an episode of The Flintstones.


HEROES VERDADEROS
Director:Carlos Kuri
Writers:Carlos Kuri, Riley Roca
Animation: Armando Avilez, Ramón Baturoni
Music:Renato Vizuet
Year/length:2010, 100 minutes
Setting:Mexico, 1790-1821
Language:Spanish
Indian Content:high
Released on:DVD (Mexico)
Rating: lousy ok good very good

A surprisingly good telling of the Mexican War of Independence as seen through the eyes of an indigenous family: the young Mixcóatl, his brawny brother Tahatsi, his quick-thinking sister Tonatsin, her Spanish novio Carlos, and their mestizo half-brother Xama, who betrays the family. Xama kills their grandfather and blames it on Mixcóatl, who must go into hiding with his best friend Carlos. When they seek refuge in a church run by the progressive priest Don Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo (an actual historical figure), the whole family is swept up into the cause for independence, except the half-brother Xama, who is reluctantly recruited to the loyalist army. Aside from the silly musical sequences this is a genuinely absorbing film that draws the viewer into the drama of Mexico's history, with moments of suspense, sadness, and humor.
heroesverdaderos.com

Sinopsis en español:
Cinco jóvenes (un criollo, tres indígenas y un mestizo) se ven involucrados por azares del destino en el movimiento de independencia de México. A través de sus ojos y acompañados de emocionantes aventuras y buen humor conoceremos personajes históricos y veremos la conspiración de Querétaro, el grito de Dolores y las campañas de Hidalgo, Allende y Morelos, hasta llegar a la culminación del movimiento.


La leyenda de la Nahuala

LA LEYENDA DE LA NAHUALA
(The Legend of the Nahuala)

Director: Ricardo Arnaiz.
Writers: Antonio Garci, Omar Mustre.
2007. 82 minutes.
Setting: Ciudad de Puebla, 1802.
Language: Spanish
Indian Conent: low
Released on: DVD

On the Day of the Dead in 1802, an easily-frightened boy named Leo must enter a haunted house to rescue his brother Nando, who has been captured by La Nahuala, a creatured from old Poblano legends. There is one Indian character, Xochitl, who is a ghost in the house, and other themes and images from indigenous or mestizo traditions. Unique, beautifully animated, with a great cast of characters. The DVD includes many extra features, including games for kids.

Sinopsis en español:
Ambientada en Puebla el año de 1807, La leyenda de la Nahuala cuenta la historia de Leo San Juan, un niño que vive eternamente asustado por las historias de terror que le cuenta Nando, su hermano mayor. Entre ellas está “La Leyenda de la Nahuala”, según la cual, una vieja Casona abandonada se encuentra poseída por el espíritu de una malvada bruja conocida como la Nahuala, que espera el alma de un niño inocente para resucitar y obtener poder absoluto. La Leyenda se convierte en realidad cuando el espíritu de la Nahuala secuestra a Nando y Leo se ve obligado a vencer todos sus miedos para rescatar a su hermano. En su recorrido por el interior de la Casona Embrujada, Leo se enfrentará a peligros, seres sobrenaturales, y descubrirá que esa casona esconde una terrible historia que pone en grave peligro no sólo la vida de Leo y Nando, también tranquilidad de toda la Ciudad de Puebla.


Martin Fierro la pelicula

MARTIN FIERRO: LA PELICULA
Aleph Media/Maiz Producciones Directors: Norman Ruiz, Liliana Romero
Writer/designer: Roberto Fontanarrosa
Animators: Iván Pizarro, Liliana Romero, Mariano Sister
Music: Mauro Lázaro, Fernando Pécora
2007. 88 minutes. 2.35:1.
Setting: Patagonia, 19th century
Language: Spanish
Indian Content: medium-low
Released on: region 4 DVD

Argentina's national epic poem El Gaucho Martín Fierro (1872), written by José Hernández (1834-1886), is colorfully brought to life in this dramatic, suspenseful film. The tale laments the fallen heroism of the gauchos--Argentine cowboys--when the goverment expanded into the west and hired poor ranchers to drive out of the indigenous peoples, who are here presented as the enemy, although Fierro's wife and children are also indigenous. As the epic was rooted in the oral tradition of payadas, the folksongs of the gauchos, the music in this film is appropriately sumptuous, evoking the cold, howling plains. The artwork, designed by popular cartoonist Roberto Negro Fontanarrosa, is also excellent. Martín Fierro, la película is one of several adaptations of the epic (and not the first animated version). The DVD released by SBP Video is region 4. It plays perfectly on a computer. Subtitles in Spanish and English, with about an hour of making-of features.

Sinopsis en español:
La pampa argentina vive tiempos de cambio, los terratenientes avanzan hacia el sur en busca de más territorio para su ganado, empujando la tenaz resistencia de los indios. En los fortines, los soldados son escasos. Los poderosos reclaman protección y los Gauchos son el recurso más económico para defender sus intereses. Uno a uno se los arrebata de sus campos y sus ranchos para formar parte de un ejército alimentado de hambre y olvido: Martín Fierro es uno de ellos. Lejos de los suyos, con la promesa incierta de un regreso al hogar que nunca se produce, obligado a enfrentarse con pobres e inocentes, Fierro y su puñal, se levantan contra tanta injusticia para recuperar su familia y su libertad. Montado en su potro fiel, atravesará los innumerables peligros de la pampa hostil, para volver a su hogar. Martín Fierro, la película es la increíble aventura de un hombre que se enfrentó contra todo y contra todos para recuperar su dignidad.


nikte

NIKTE
Director: Ricardo Arnaiz
Writer: Ricardo Arnaiz
Animation:
Music:
Editing:
2009. 86 minutes.
Setting: Yocán, a city in Hule (fictional places)
Indian Content: high
Language: Spanish
Released on: DVD released in Mexico

While a family is visiting an Olmec site, the oldest daughter, Nikté, falls asleep and dreams that she is back in pre-Columbian times, in the city of Yocan. Learning of a prophecy that a princess will fall from the sky when a comet comes, Nikté and her friend Chin arrange for her to fall from the sky right in front of the temple of Xtabay. However, Nikté finds that she must undergo a series of adventures before she can become princess. She encounters ghosts, monsters, dragons, scorpions, giant worms, a flatulent turkey, and a boy who wants to seduce her for his father's dire plans. This is the second feature from Animex, which also made La leyenda de la Nahuala. But Nikté is even better, with a more exiciting story, and a great variety of funny characters.

Sinopsis en español:
Situada en lo que ahora es Tabasco, durante la época precolombina, la película narra la historia de Nikté, una niña huérfana de carácter muy difícil que desea ser importante y, para lograrlo, engaña a su pueblo haciéndose pasar por la princesa anunciada en una profecía. Lo que no sabe es que la profecía exigirá mucho más de lo que ella puede ofrecer y que para cumplirla vivirá muchas aventuras, donde aprenderá que para ser el más grande, primero hay que ser el más pequeño.


OGU Y MAMPATO EN RAPA NUI
Director:Alejandro Rojas
Writers: Themo Lobos, Daniel Turkieltaub
Animation:Rommy Rivera, etc.
Music:Joe Vasconcellos,
Mito Manutomatoma
Year/length:2002. 75 minutes.
Setting:Rapa Nui, Chile
Language:Spanish
Culture:Rapa Nui
Indian Content:medium
Released on:DVD (outside U.S.)
Rating: ok

Mampato is a Chilean boy with a time machine who transports himself to Pre-Colombian Rapa Nui. There he meets his friend Ogu, an ape-like creature whom he runs into in all his time travel adventures. In Rapa Nui the pair find themselves embroiled in a political fued between the evil ruler, el Gran Ariki, who forces everyone to make the monumental Moai statues, and his son, the enlightened Joven Ariki. Partaking of local custom, the heroes participate in a dangerous obstacle race which includes a swim to the small island of Motu Nui to capture the first egg of the Tara bird. The winner becomes the Tangata Manu (birdman) for the year. Based on a popular Chilean comic book series by Themo Lobos.

Sinopsis en español:
Entusiasmado por las historias que le cuenta su padre sobre Isla de Pascua, Mampato decide visitar este lugar y conocer más acerca de sus misterios. Con su cinto espacio-temporal, viaja a la prehistoria en busca de su amigo y compañero Ogú, un simpático hombre de las cavernas. Juntos viajan a través del tiempo y el espacio, destino a la mítica isla de Rapa Nui. En ésta conocen a una pequeña lugareña llamada Marama, la que será su guía y compañera en esta aventura. Involuntariamente, los protagonistas se internan en los conflictos y rivalidades de sus habitantes, donde los ariki (Orejas Largas) mantienen sometidos a los Orejas Cortas, de los que Marama es parte. En la aventura, gozan de la hospitalidad de los isleños Orejas Cortas", pero también son perseguidos por los "Orejas Largas" y sus protegidos, que han mantenido subyugados a los pascuenses por años, dominándolos y explotándolos. Deben ocultarse de sus secuaces y finalmente participan en una rebelión en su contra, que culmina gracias a la astucia de Mampato con la posesión de la isla y la recuperación de los derechos de los pascuenses.


Patoruzito

PATORUZITO
Director: José Luis Massa
Writers: Dante Quinterno, Axel Nacher, Omar Quiroga
Animation:Franco Bittolo, etc.
Music:Eduardo Frigerio
Year/length:2004. 75 minutes.
Setting:Patagonia, Argentina
Language:Spanish
Culture:Tehuelche
Indian Content:medium-high
Released on:DVD (Chile)
Rating: lousy ok good

Patoruzito is a Tehuelche boy living in Patagonia, and is the last descendant of the Patoruzek dynasty. When the time comes for him to become cacique, Cachicó, another boy his age, challenges him. Cachicó teams up with the evil archaeologist Mr. Ferguson, who seeks the missing half of an ancient Egyptian amulet in a hidden valley sacred to the Tehuelches. This is decent entertainment for kids. Based on the comic strip begun in 1945 by Dante Quinterno (which was in turn based on the adult version of the character, Patoruzú, who first appeared in 1928).

Sinopsis en español:
A Patoruzito le ha llegado, según la tradición de los Tehuelches, el momento de convertirse en el cacique de la tribu. Creció rodeado del amor de la Chacha, en la estancia, junto a Ñancul y Upita, y cuenta ya con el coraje y la bondad propia de su linaje, que siempre ha ofrendado su esfuerzo para que el bien prevaleciera sobre el mal. Pero para cumplir su destino, deberá antes enfrentar y vencer a peligrosos adversarios que harán lo imposible para evitarlo. Uno de sus enemigos es Cachicó, un envidioso indio de su misma edad, siempre acompañado por sus secuaces Tino y Moncho, quien encuentran en Patoruzito un obstáculo insalvable para sus codiciosas intenciones. El otro es Mr. Ferguson, un misterioso arqueólogo extranjero, obsesionado por acceder a un mítico lugar llamado "El Valle Perdido", tierra sagrada para los Tehuelches.


PATORUZITO 2: LA GRAN AVENTURA
Director: José Luis Massa
Writers: Axel Nacher, Omar Quiroga
Animation:Jorge Marinucci, etc.
Music:Eduardo Frigerio
Year/length:2006. 81 minutes.
Setting:Patagonia; Buenos Aires, Argentina
Language:Spanish
Culture:Tehuelche
Indian Content:low
Released on:DVD (Argentina)
Rating: good

Patoruzito is invited to march in a parade in Buenos Aires. He and his friends go to the capital and encounter further adventures when they stay in a haunted house. The second Patoruzito has fewer Indian characters than the first movie.

Sinopsis en español:
Patoruzito viaja a Buenos Aires para representar a su raza en una fecha patria, y allí se encuentra con una mansión en la que una bruja pretende hacer prisionera a un hada.


PIRATAS EN EL CALLAO
(Pirates in Callao)

Director: Eduardo Schuldt
Writers: Pipo Gallo, Hernan Garrido Lecca
Animation: Alpamayo Studios
Music: Diego Rivera
2005. 78 minutes.
Setting: Callao, Peru,
Language: Spanish
Indian Content: medium-low
Released on: DVD

In 1969, a class on a field trip visits the colonial fortress Real Felipe in the port town of Callao a few miles from Lima, Peru. One boy, Alberto, is inexplicably transported back in time to 1624, when Peru is about to be invaded by Dutch pirates. Alberto is invisible to the people of 1624, but that doesn't stop him from falling in love with the Indian girl Urpi. He resolves to help her and her older brother Tupac, who plan to join forces with the pirates to defeat the Spanish. The plot--based on 1996 children's book by Hernán Garrido Lecca--is quite complicated, but the dialogue and humor seem intended for younger children, and the whole cartoon feels like a product. This was the first computer animated film in Peru or in Latin America, and the art isn't so bad for a fledling effort by 14 animators. It's a valiant effort, but they should have taken more care to construct a quality story to go along with the technology. Also available in an English-dubbed version.

Sinopsis en español:
Cuando el niño Alberto realizaba, junto con sus compañeros, una visita a la fortaleza colonial conocida como el Real Felipe, no imaginó la gran aventura que iba a protagonizar. Tras extraviarse en sus pasadizos, toca accidentalmente una piedra mágica que lo lanza en un viaje a través del tiempo. Así, nuestro amiguito acaba en el año 1624, poco antes del ataque de la flota del pirata holandés Jacques L Hermite al puerto del Callao. Pronto conocerá a dos amigos más, también de su edad: Urpi, una niña indígena, e Ignacio, proveniente de 1866 (otro involuntario viajero del tiempo). La invasión de L’Hermite parece inevitable… ahora, serán estos tres niños de diferentes épocas, quizás, la única esperanza de salvar al Callao de los piratas. También conocida como Piratas en el Pacífico, es la primera película animada en 3D peruana (y latinoamericana). Basada en el libro infantil de Hernán Garrido Lecca.


Popol Vuh

POPOL VUH
Director / writer: Patricia Amlin
Animators: Patricia Amlin, Joanne Corso, Martha Corzycka, Bud Luckey
Narrators: Larry George (Yakima)
Voices: Teatro Campesino
Music: Tod Boekilheide, Xochimoki, Mazatl Galindo, Jim Berenholtz
1988. 60 minutes. Rated G.
Setting: Guatemala, pre-Columbian times
Language: English
Indian Content: high
Released on: institutional DVD (for libraries & museums)

A creative adaptation of the ancient Quiche text. The unusual animation is based on actual Mayan art, morphing back and forth from still images to movement, and from authentic art to more stylized animation. The intended audience seems to be children, but the slippery Ovidian transitions between episodes and the overall weirdness may be disorienting to people unfamiliar with the myths. This film will appeal best to those who are already fans of Mayan culture. Patricia Amlin also directed Five Suns: A Sacred History of Mexico.

Sinopsis en español:
La gran épica Maya de la creación contada por medio de una animación que se deriva de libros y cerámicas antiguas.


RIO 2096: UMA HISTÓRIA DE AMOR E FÚRIA
Director/Writer: Luiz Bolognesi
Animation:Bruno Monteiro
Music:Rica Amabis, Tejo Damasceno, Pupillo
Year/length:2013. 74 minutes.
Setting:Tupinambas Village, 1566;
Maranhão, 1825;
Rio de Janeiro, 1968 & 2096
Language:Portuguese
Indian Content:low
Released on:DVD (Brazil)
Rating: lousy ok good good

Loosely based on Tupinambá mythology, the film tells the story of Abeguar, a warrior who has been chosen by the god Munhã to protect his people from the evil spirit Anhangá, who will seek to destroy them again and again throughout the ages. The first sign of evil is the arrival of white strangers from two tribes, France and Portugal, who invade their land. Abeguar and his wife Janaína escape by turning into birds and flying away. The story then advances to other times: a slave revolt in 1825, a student insurgency movement against the dictatorship in 1968, and a war over water in a resource-starved future in 2096. In each scenario, Abeguar and Janaína are reborn as different people and must fight oppression all over again. A very unique and original film.
Official website (in English or Portuguese): umahistoriadeamorefuria.com.br/en/
Facebook page (Portuguese): facebook.com/umahistoriadeamorefuria

Resumo em português:
Uma História de Amor e Fúria é um filme de animação que retrata o amor entre um herói imortal e Janaína, a mulher por quem é apaixonado há 600 anos. Como pano de fundo do romance, o longa de Luiz Bolognesi ressalta quatro fases da história do Brasil: a colonização, a escravidão, o Regime Militar e o futuro, em 2096, quando haverá guerra pela água. Destinado ao público jovem e adulto com traço e linguagem de HQ, o filme traz Selton Mello e Camila Pitanga dublando os protagonistas. O longa conta ainda com a participação de Rodrigo Santoro, na pele do chefe indígena e de um guerrilheiro.


The Road to El Dorado

THE ROAD TO EL DORADO
Dreamworks Studios
Directors: Don Paul, Bibo Bergeron
Writers: Terry Rossio, Ted Elliott
2000. 89 minutes. Rated PG.
Setting: a Mayan city, 1512.
Language: English
Indian Content: medium
Released on: DVD

Tulio and Miguel are a couple of Spanish con artists who flee from the police by jumping on a boat which takes them to the New World. There they try to convince the locals that they are gods, aided by the curvaceous thief Chel. Taking advantage of tensions between the emperor and the religious leader, the two rogues manage to put an end to human sacrifice while also scoring a treasure of gold. The humor works principally through an annoyingly contemporary sarcasm, expressed through Tulio and Miguel's cliche buddy-banter. The voices, facial expressions, and gestures are all reproduced with slavish accuracy to 1990s pop culture, leaving little screentime for Mayan culture. However, the background artwork is sumptuous--the architecture, artifacts, jungles, and costumes are all so beautiful that no one should mind the historical inaccuracies. And the special effects used for the magic sequences are also impressive. This film came out the same year as Disney's The Emperor's New Groove. Although Disney's Incan cartoon is funnier, Dreamwork's Mayan adventure sports better artwork, and will probably appeal more to fans of Indian culture.


TOKI LEFTXARU
Studio: ChileToons
2010. 70 minutes.
Setting: Mapuche territory, 1534-1557
Language: Spanish
Indian Content: high
Released on: DVD
good

Based on the life of Leftxaru (1534-1557), chief warrior (Toki) of the Mapuches, who led several successful battles against the Spanish. His father Curiñancu was also a Toki, and gave his son a name that means "swift falcon." Leftxaru sees his father die in a battle with the Winkas (foreigners) and is captured by them. He lives with the Winkas for several years, learning their strategies, strength and weaknesses, their weapons and their horses, until he is old enough to escape and lead his people against them. The art is simple but effective, and the battle scenes are not bloody, making this cartoon suitable ideal for kids. The DVD (available from Amazon) has no subtitles, but the Spanish is spoken slowly and is very easy to understand. Leftxaru's name is pronounced Leftraru here, as it is sometimes spelled in other sources. Based on the graphic novel series Histocomix.

Sinopsis en español:
Narra la vida del guerrero mapuche Leftxaru [Lautaro] y su lucha contra los españoles. Un niño que era feliz en su tierra con los suyos, pero luego de presenciar la terrible muerte de su padre se vio cautivo de un extraño winka (invasor). Tras vivir como caballerizo del jefe winka y luego de un difícil tiempo pero lleno de enseñanzas y descubrimientos, sintió el llamado de la tierra, de su tierra. Escapó y volvió con los suyos para transformarse en su líder, devolviéndoles su tierra, su equilibrio y su dignidad. La esperanza renacía, hasta que Leftxaru encuentra su destino en Peteroa. Basado en Histocomix.

CARTOON SERIES & COLLECTIONS:

ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Director: Stéphane Bernasconi
Animation director:Yannick Barbaud
Music:Ray Parker et al.
Year/length:1991-92; 39 23-minute episodes
Setting: Brussels, Peru, San Theodoros (fictional Central American nation) and others
Language:French (dubbed into many other languages)
Indian Content:low
Released on:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good

Based on the classic French comic books of writer/illustrator Hergé (1907-1983), this three-season series featured a few episodes with Native American characters:

"The Broken Ear, Parts 1 & 2" (Season Two)
A wooden idol of Latin American origin mysteriously disappears from the Museum of Ethnography in Brussels, and is replaced by a forgery the next day. Tintin's investigation leads him to a woodcarver, a talking parrot, and eventually a trip to the fictional South American republic of San Theodoros. In the course of his adventures Tintin encounters the Arumbayas, a fictional indigenous group living in the rain forest. (The Arumbayas reappear in the comic book version of Tintin and the Picaros, but were cut out of the cartoon version of that episode.)


"The Seven Crystal Balls, Parts 1 & 2" (Season Three)
A group of archaeologists open the tomb of the (fictional) Inka Rascar Capac and bring his mummy and treasures back to France. Upon translating an inscription, one of the archaeologists discovers that their expedition was not only predicted but also cursed. One by one, each of the scientists is put into a mysterious coma by a crystal ball containing a sleep potion. The mummy then escapes, and Tintin's friend Professor Calculus is kidnapped.
"Prisoners of the Sun, Parts 1 & 2" (Season Three)
Tintin and Captain Haddock fly to Peru to find Professor Calculus. They help Sorino, an indigenous boy, escape a couple of bullies, and Zorrino in turn helps them find the hidden Temple of the Sun. All three are captured, and for violating the sacred site, they are sentenced to be sacrificed to the Sun God (incorrectly named Pachacamac, who was the creator god; Inti was the sun god). Tintin, as always, finds a way to escape.


LAS AVENTURAS DE JUNAJPU' Y LUNA
Director/writer: Alejo Crisóstomo
Animation: Xochitl Gazol
Music: Ranferí Aguilar
2010, 55 min.
Setting: Lago Atitlan, Guatemala
Language: Spanish
Released on: not yet on DVD

Junajpu' and Luna are a brother and sister living on the shores of Lago Atitlan in Guatemala. One day they are separated by evil forces, and must overcome many adventures to reunite and fulfill the prophecy that will save the world. A 15-episode educational series that seeks to encourage indigenous pride and values.

Sinopsis en español:
La serie de 15 episodios cuenta la historia de dos hermanos separados por el mal y las aventuras que enfrentan para reencontrarse y hacer realidad la profecía que dice que ellos salvarán al mundo. Luna y Junajpu' son parte de una familia indígena que vive a orillas del Lago de Atitlán en Guatemala y en su viaje conocen a niñas y niños del resto del país.


BIBLIOTECA SER INDÍGENA
Animation: Jorge Bizama
Setting: Chile
Language: Spanish (no subtitles)
Released on: Youtube


Three three-minute cartoons based on traditional tales from Chile:
"Saire - Agua de lluvia" - Flood story of the Atacamenos
"Kai Kai y Ten-Ten Vilu - Las serpientes del agua y de la tierra" - Mapuche creation myth
"Domo y Lituche: La creación del mundo Mapuche" - Another Mapuche creation myth
The cartoons are drawn in a very unique, original style, with white line drawings over a black background and spare, effective use of color. The Ser Indigena website no longer exists, but you can still find the cartoons on Youtube.


DOMINIQUE JONARD
French-born artist Dominique Jonard shows indigenous children in different parts of Mexico how to make simple animation, and the kids provide their own voices. Some of his cartoons are on his Vimeo Page . In recent years he has turned his emphasis from Indigenous themes to environmental issues.

Aguas con el Botas (Maruata, Michoacan, 1994, 10 min.)
Un brinco pa'allá (A Hop Across) (Tijuana, 2000, 20 min.)
A border-crossing tale about kids traveling from Tijuana to San Diego, California.
El carero de Don Chi (Tarahumara, 1990, 3 min.)
Hapunda (Michoacan, 4 min.)
A Purepecha myth from the 16th century manuscript, Relación de Michoacán. In the Island of Yunven in Lake Patzcuaro the princess Hapunda lived in harmony with the lake and vowed to stay by its side. And then the warriors came.
Itziguari, una leyenda purhepecha (Ihuatzio, Michoacan, 1990, 5 min.)
Un poquito de... (Morelos, 2003, 11 min)
Un volcán hace erupción y asusta a la sombra de uno de los habitantes de la comunidad. Diferentes elementos como el amaranto, alimento prehispánico con el que se produce un dulce llamado alegría; el Popocatépetl, volcán emblemático de México, el mercado y su ancestral práctica del trueque, proporcionan el marco para certificar un hecho singular que nos llevará a conocer las prácticas mágicas de las mujeres curanderas para que la sombra regrese al cuerpo al cual pertenece.
Que nos pasa? (San Miguel de Allende, 2011, 5 min.)
Raramuri, Pie Ligero (Sierra Tarahumara, 10 min.)
A tale of a footrace among the Raramuri Indians.
Santo Golpe (Chiapas, 10 min.)
Tells of a bus heist among the Tzeltal and Tzotzil Indians in Chiapas.
El talador arrepentido (San Miguel de Allende, 2009, 6 min.)
Tembucha Xepiti (El novio flaco) (Purepecha, 1990, 8 min.)
Xani Xepica (Lazybones) (Michoacan, 2007, 7 min.)
A folktale about a young man, José, whose laziness gets him in trouble. When he wants to marry Atzimba, her father gives him various tasks in the mountains. A remake of "Tembucha Xepiti".
Y el agua? (Valle de Bravo, 2009, 6 min.)


EDITORIAL AMANUTA:
COLECCION BICENTENARIO

(no credits) This is a series of eight very short cartoons (two minutes or less!) featuring myths from the various cultures of Chile. They are available at the publisher's website, where you can buy book versions of the stories as well.
amanuta.cl/ni%C3%B1os/videos/

La música en las montañas (Aymara)
La historia de los delfines (Selk'nam)
La niña de la calavera (Mapuche)
El Calafate (Tehuelche)
El cóndor y la pastora (Atacameno)
El hijo del Canelo (Kawesqar)
La Ballena (Yamana)
Mata-ko-hiro (Rapa Nui)


EDITORIAL AMANUTA:
COLECCION DVDs

Directors/Writers: Ana Maria Pavez,
Olaya Sanfuentes
Animation: Raquel Echenique,
Rodrigo Lagos
Music: Claudio Mercado,
Amparo Fontaine
Year/length:2008-2010. 10-15 minutes.
Setting:Chile, Guatemala
Language:Spanish
Culture:Yamana, Selknam, Mapuche, Quiche Maya
Indian Content:high
Released on:DVD (Chile); Vimeo
From the same publisher as the shorter Bicentenial cartoons above, these longer cartoons of 10-15 minutes are done in the same style, except "Popol Vuh", which is based on Mayan art. All these cartoons are very good. The DVDs have the option of English subtitles; the Videos on Vimeo do not.
Offical site:
amanuta.cl/cat%C3%A1logo/colecci%C3%B3n-dvds

Elal y los animales
Based on the creation myth of the Tehuelche. The giant Noshtex becomes jealous of his son Elal and plans to kill him. The animals protect Elal by taking him to the land of Patagonia, and Elal gives each of the animals an attribute for which they are still known today.
vimeo.com/15202707

El secreto de los Selk'nam
Aneki, a Selk´nam youth, participates in the Hain ceremony to be iniciated into the secrets and traditions, an reaffirm men's dominion over women, who used to rule over men in the time before the creation of the sun and moon.
vimeo.com/22456501

Darwin, un viaje al fin del mundo
A quick summary of Charles Darwin's explorations of South America during the five-year worldwide voyage of the HMS Beagle. Also on board were four Yamana natives who had been taken from Tierra del Fuego to England on a previous voyage. They are only cameo characters here, but you can learn more about them in the book Savage: The Life and Times of Jemmy Button, by Nick Hazelwood.
vimeo.com/22608583

Popol Vuh
This cartoon tells the Mayan story of the creation of the world and the demigods Hunahpu and Ixbalanque, who survive a series of tricks and attacks by the gods of the underworld, and are ultimately transformed into the sun and the moon. The art is based on codices, paintings, pottery, and stone carvings of the Quiche Mayans ranging from 300-900 AD.
vimeo.com/12953093

Elal y los Animales
El Secreto de los Selk'nam
Popol Vuh

EKIRAJA
Director:Jose Tonny Marquez
Writer:Edwing Negro Salas
Animation:Miguel Alvarado
Music:Jesus Chucho Romero
Year/length:six 24-minute episodes; 2012
Setting:Venezuela

Six 24-minute episodes, each with three stories featuring different indigenous groups in Venezuela. In 3D.
Facebook page: facebook.com/pages/Ekiraja/347198855293159

Sinopsis en español:
Este es un seriado de televisión de 6 capítulos con una duración de 24 minutos cada uno, realizado con técnicas de animación tridimensional por computadora, dedicado a niños, niñas y adolescentes. Cada episodio contará con un total de tres historias de diferentes grupos indígenas venezolanos con una duración de 7 minutos cada una, las cuales, conforman los 3 segmentos de la estructura total de cada episodio. Esta serie animada nace de una recopilación de la memoria ancestral indígena, escritos o recopilados por varios autores y editoriales a lo largo de nuestra geografía nacional y que pertenecen a la tradición narrativa indígena, la cual, mostrará aspectos de la vida de nuestras grupos étnicos, nunca antes reveladas en el formato que proponemos en este proyecto y que les otorgará un espacio entre las generaciones venideras, tal y como lo fue en su momento la transición del lenguaje oral al lenguaje escrito. Mediante el uso de las nuevas tecnologías, se dará vida a las mágicas narraciones que han pasado de generación en generación hasta nuestros días, pero que por la desintegración e imposición de modelos culturales ajenos a los de nuestros pueblos, aún no conocemos. La adaptación de estas historias populares a la televisión es un aporte de nuestro equipo a la preservación de nuestra identidad cultural.


Erase una vez... Las America

ERASE UNA VEZ... LAS AMERICAS
(Once Upon A Time... The Americas)

Director/writer: Albert Barillé
1991.
Setting: North and South America; pre-Columbian times to the present
Language: French or Spanish
Released on: region 2 DVD

Original French title: Il était une fois... les Amériques. 26 animated episodes of the history of Native Americans from pre-Columbian times to the European invasion to the present. This series had an educational emphasis, suitable for ages 5 to 10.


HACEDORES DE LAS PALABRAS
(Word Makers)

Setting: Mexico, various regions
Language: Chol, Maya, Otomi, Spanish
Released on: online

A series of very short (less than a minute) cartoons from different parts of Mexico, narrated by native children. Both audio and subtitles are available in Chol, Maya, Otomi, or Spanish. The site also has complete downloadable books in these languages.
hacedoresdelaspalabras.com


JOGOS MUNDIAIS DOS POVOS INDÍGENAS
(Indigenous Peoples' Olympics)
Year/length:2015; less than 2 minutes
Setting:Amazon rainforest
Language:Portuguese
Culture:various
Released on:Youtube

This is a cute series of very short cartoons, less than two minutes each, to promote the 2015 Indigenous Olympics. Kalí, a little boy from the Amazon rainforest, shows us the various games that are played: soccer, swimming, foot race, canoe race, etc. Although the Olympics encompass indigenous athletes from all over the world, these cartoons focus on the Americas and particularly Brazil. The subtitles are only in Portuguese.
Available on Youtube:
youtube.com/channel/UCFLEnrkOIRd07lVRHqkBrdg/videos
Official website of the Indigenous Olympics:
jmpi2015.gov.br/


LA LEYENDA DEL MAYAL
Directors: David Torres, Emilio Maillé
Writers: Andrés Eichelmann, David Torres
Animation:David Torres, Thomas Boda
Music:Omar Torres
Year/length:45 minutes. 2010.
Setting:Mexico, 1910-1920?
Language:Spanish
Indian Content:medium-low
Released on:Vimeo or Youtube
Rating: lousy ok good very good excellent

Mayal Ramírez fought in the Mexican Revolution, but one day he got tired of killing people and he rebelled. As the series opens, he has just been shot by his friend Rubén, but he is revived by Mayahuel, the goddess of maguey (the cactus used to make pulque and tequila). After being revived, Mayal remembers how he died, and he also finds that he cannot be killed by ordinary bullets. But Rubén will continue to try, persuing him across Mexico. This is a fascinating, mysterious film, with elements of Aztec, Yaqui and Huichol lore, presented in an original style of rotoscope animation that perfectly complements the spellbinding mood and mythology of the tale. Worthy of comparison to Juan Rulfo's Pedro Paramo and the films The Dead Man and Excalibur.

The Vimeo version is in high definition, in four downloadable parts:
vimeo.com/28746481
Youtube has the original version in 13 five-minute chapters, which is easier to understand because each chapter has a very short, one-sentence introduction:
youtube.com/watch?v=0hj0zLLaQVg vimeo.com/28746481
The official website has useful sinopses of each chapter:
oncetv-ipn.net/mayal

Sinopsis en español:
Dicen quienes lo vieron cabalgar por los desiertos del México revolucionario, que el Mayal Ramírez era un hombre bueno. Combatió junto a los desamparados, hasta que un día, cansado de matar, se rebeló. Fue fusilado por su amigo Rubén, pero la diosa Mayahuel lo resucitó para asignarle una misión en el mundo de los vivos. La serie La leyenda del Mayal está inspirada, a su vez, en La leyenda de Mayahuel, que narra la historia entre Mayahuel y Quetzalcóatl, quienes se amaron bajo la forma de un árbol, hasta que un día una estrella despedazó su rama. Triste, Quetzalcóatl tomó los restos de la joven virgen y los enterró; de ella brotó el maguey, planta inmortal que muere para resucitar una y otra vez. Y así ocurrió cuando el Mayal Ramírez se encontró con la diosa Mayahuel.


Leyendas Argentinas

LEYENDAS ARGENTINAS
Studio: Tercer Ojo Group
Director: Victor Blasco
Illustrations: Gabriel Romero
Music: Marcelo Paez
2010
Setting: Argentina
Language: Spanish
Indian Content: high
Released on: not available

Four three-minute cartoons on various themes in Argentine folklore, presented in shadow-puppet style.

La leyenda de Algarrobo y su fruto (Comechingones)
El Pomberito
El Ucumar
Quebracho colorado


Mysterious Cities of Gold DVD

MYSTERIOUS CITIES OF GOLD
Original Japanese title:
Taiyô no ko Esteban

Director: Howard Ryshpan.
Writer: Scott O'Dell.
1982-1983. 1160 minutes. Rated G.
Setting: Peru, 1532.
Language: Japanese (English dubs)
Released on: DVD

This was a Japanese TV series that ran for 39 episodes in 1982 and 1983, based on a story by acclaimed children's author Scott O'Dell. In 1532, Esteban, an orphan in Spain, travels to the Americas to search for his father. He meets an Incan girl named Zia, and Tao, last descendent of the sunken city of Hiva. The three kids have adventures among the Incans, Mayans, and Olmecs. The art is unacceptably crude and lazy, the characters flat and dull at best, and usually annoying. The only thing going for this series is the story, which really doesn't get interestng until about ten episodes in. Don't believe the hype on Amazon. Only nostalgia can make this series seem good. The six-DVD set, dubbed into English, with all 39 episodes and assorted bonus features, was released in 2009.


Nazca DVD

NAZCA
Directors: Hiroko Tokita, Benito Rabal
1990, 1998. 300 minutes.
Setting: ancient Peru; modern Japan
Language: Japanese (English dubs)
Released on: out-of-print DVD & VHS

A Japanese martial arts student travels back in time to pre-Colombian Peru. 16 episodes available on four 75-minute DVDs.


PATAGONIA: HOMBRES DEL CONFIN
(Patagonia: Men of the Horizon)

Studio: Cubo Negro
Director: Erwin Gómez
Writers: Erwin Gómez, Dauno Tótoro, Carlos Zagal
2008. 144 minutes.
Setting: Chilean Patagonia
Language: English
Indian Content: high
Released on: none

An epic series (six 24-minute episodes) based on traditions of the Selknam and Kaweskar people. The shaman Lechuza predicts the arrival of invaders from afar, upsetting the harmony of the Seven Clans of Mother Earth.


Sinopsis en español:
Serie épica, de fuertes raíces ancestrales en las narraciones y mitos originales del pueblo Selknam o Kaweskar del extremo sur del continente americano. En este austral lugar viven los Siete Clanes de la Tierra Madre. El chamán del clan de la Lechuza, Kuanip, tiene una visión en donde se acercan los tiempos oscuros. Esto quiebra la armonía ya existente. La oscuridad se refiere a los conquistadores de tierras lejanas que vienen a romper y arrasar con todo lo que encuentran en su camino, con el único objetivo de encontrar riqueza y poder. Dementor es la cabeza de este escuadrón, y viene acompañado por Prospector y por muchos soldados. En tanto, uno de los pobladores, Xaxán, enceguecido por el poder y el egoismo, traiciona a su clan y se une a la oscuridad. La única posibilidad que tienen los habitantes de salvarse es liberar a la Ballena de la Luz. Esta misión se la encomiendan a Haru y Sasán. La ballena es una criatura mágica, que es la máxima materialización de la Madre Tierra.


PEPERO, EL NIÑO DE LOS ANDES
Studio:Wako
Director:Kazuhiko Udakowa
Writers:Shun'ichi Yukimuro, Soji Yoshikawa
Animation: Torao Arai, oriyasu Taniguchi, Nobuhiro Okaoi, Toyoo Ashida
Music:Mitsuko Horio & Rain Drops
Year/length:1975-1976. 26 episodes.
Language:Japanese
Home Released on:DVD only in Japan

The adventures of Pepero, a 10-year-old Andean boy embarks on an adventure to find the lost city of El Dorado, following in the footsteps of his father who disappeared long ago. Pepero is accompanied by his friends Titicaca, Kanya, Aztec, and Chuchu. The original Japanese title was Andes Shonen Pepero no Boken, and the series had alternative titles in Spanish, such as En Busca del condor dorado, and Las aventuras de pepero el niño de los andes. It was translated into Italian, Arabic and Russian. There are a few clips on Youtube.
Chapters:
1. Departure for El Dorado
2. Goodbye, Indian village
3. Circus boy Chooch
4. Cross the evil lake
5. Kena in the mist
6. Dangerous rope bridge
7. White cliff with condors
8. Puma lullaby
9. Capita temple disappeared
10. Illusory white horse Jupiter
11. The mysterious Narua treasure
12. Song of the golden condor
13. Goodbye, Titicaca
14. Showdown! The black eagle gang
15. Hurry Pepero! To wolf valley
16. Anaconda the man-eating great snake
17. Baby stolen by an eagle
18. Queen of the crystal temple
19. Revive, city of the sun
20. Chooch's sister
21. An Amazon tribe of women only
22. Golden temple under the lake
23. Mysterious kingdom under the earth
24. Demon captain's daughter
25. El Dorado the city of gold
26. Secret treasure of El Dorado


Sinopsis en español:

La historia trata sobre Pepero, un niño de los andes, que vive junto a su madre y que un día al ver a un misterioso condor dorado decide salir trás de el para poder llegar a la legendaria ciudad de El Dorado, donde podría reencontrarse con su padre quien había desaparecido al salir en busca de esta misteriosa ciudad. Cuando Pepero comienza su aventura, el tiene 10 años, pero no hará solo esta travesía ya que tendrá varios compañeros de viaje: El viejo Titicaca, Kanya, Aztec, y Chuchu.

Capitulos: 1.Salida para el Dorado. 2. ¡Adiós!, pueblo indio. 3. Muchacho de circo Chooch. 4. Cruce el malo lago. 5. Kena en la niebla. 6. Puente de cuerda peligroso. 7. Roca blanca con cóndores. 8. Arrullo de puma. 9. El templo de cápita desapareció. 10. Júpiter de caballo ilusorio blanco. 11. Narua misterioso atesora. 12. Canción del cóndor de oro. 13. ¡Adiós!, Titicaca. 14. ¡Enfrentamiento! El águila negra organiza una banda. 15. ¡Prisa Pepero! A valle de lobo. 16. Anaconda el comer de hombre grande. 17. Bebé robado por un águila. 18. Reina del templo de cristal. 19. Reanímese, la ciudad del sol. 20. La hermana de Chucho. 21. Una tribu de Amazonas de sólo mujeres. 22. Templo de oro bajo el lago. 23. Reino misterioso bajo la tierra. 24. El capitán de demonio hija. 25. Dorado el-la ciudad de oro. 26. Tesoro secreto de el Dorado.



TIKITIKLIP PRECOLOMBINO
Studio:Ojitos Producciones
Directors:Alejandra Egaña, Paz Puga
Writers:Alejandra Egaña, Paz Puga, Pedro Peirano, Anna Witte (lyrics)
Animation:Vanesa Brown, Paloma Valdivia, Cristóbal León, Alberto Montt, Claudio Romo
Music:Miranda y Tobar
Year/length:2010; 13 4-5 minute episodes
Language:Spanish
Indian Content:high
Released on:Youtube
Rating: lousy ok good very good excellent

A series of 13 music videos inspired by indigenous art and artifacts. Each episode begins with a conversation between an archaeologist and his curious daughter Ines, then segues into an amusing music video, with animation styles based on ancient pottery from the collection of the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. Highly recommended. Episodes include:

Cara de chapulín (Teotihuacán, Mexico)
Colibrí y la lluvia (Nasca, Peru)
El jilakata y la llamita (Tiwanaku, Bolivia)
Pelícano rey (Chimu/Chan Chan, Peru)
El sapo feo (Chavin de Huantar, Peru)
El jugador de la pelota (Veracruz/Tajín, Mexico)
Niño Samik (Chorrera, Ecuador)
Nucci, Mané y Tilán (Valdivia, Ecuador)
Poki y Taki (Moche, Peru)
El secreto (Inka and Diaguita, Argentina)
Noche negra (Colima & Nayarit, Northwest Mexico)
El astrónomo y Sacnicté (Palenque/Maya)
Las coplas del buho (Mapuche, Chile/Argentina) [others cultures also shown]

The videos on the official website at ojitos.cl/series/tikitiklip-precolombino/ don't work in the U.S., but you can find them on Youtube. You can also order the DVD (in Chile only) or the book versions from:
www.kaikai.cl

Sinopsis en español:
En cada capítulo un padre arqueólogo le enseña a Inés, su curiosa hija, diferentes piezas de arte precolombino con las cuales trabaja. La niña escucha las explicaciones del padre y a partir de ahí imagina un mundo con historias al ritmo de la música en el que las figuras precolombinas son los protagonistas. Las piezas de arte precolombino pertenecen a la colección del Museo Chileno Precolombino de Santiago.


XOKE: NON JOIBO SIKA'
Xoke: nuestras historias pintadas

Setting: Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon
Language: Shipibo, with Spanish subtitles
Released on: Youtube

A series of short 6-8 minute cartoons sponsored by Estudios Linguisticos de la Amazonia. Each story is based on a traditional Shipibo-Konibo tale, as collected in the comic book Xoke: non joibo siká' (Xoke: nuestras historias pintadas). The stories created so far are:

"Popo ainbo" (La mujer buho)
"Jenen yoshin kené" (La sirena y el kené)
"Wisoino"
"Chaxo betan ani ronin" (El venado y la anaconda)

Available on Youtube: youtube.com/user/JOIAMAZONIA/videos

More info on the book at facebook.com/joiamazonia



Next Page:
SHORT CARTOONS
(including animated music videos and documentaries)



NOT RECOMMENDED:
The Emperor's Treasure (Diane Paloma Eskenazi, 2004. 45 min. DVD)
A young man travels to Machu Picchu to illustrate his father's archaeological book. He somehow slips into the past and meets the ancient Incas. The animation is adequate, but the story, characters, and humor are utterly vapid and lifeless.
Mitos, leyendas y fiestas tradiciones de America Latina (Pedro Ros, 2006. 32 min. DVD)
A collection of short cartoons set in different countries: The Colossuses from Tierra del Fuego (Argentina/Chile); The Myth of the Volcanoes (Mexico); The Guardians of the Treasure (Cuba); Las Ciguapas (Dominican Republic); La Llorona (various); The Day of the Dead (Mexico) The Feast of the Sun (Peru); The Festival of the Flowers (Colombia); The Feast of Saint James The Apostle (Puerto Rico). The animation is extremely crude and the stories are nothing special. Compared to what is available for free on Youtube and other sites, this production is disappointing and not worth a DVD release.
The Monkey People (Rabbit Ears Productions, 1991. 30 min.)
Rainforest dwellers cut out paper monkeys to do their work for them. The shadow-puppet silhouette animation is too limited to hold your interest for a half-hour.
Tales from the Latin American Indians (Fernando Benitez, 1986. DVD)
This VHS collection has four stories: "La Leyenda de Quetzalcoatl" (Aztec/Mayan/Toltec), "La Leyenda de Loiza" (Puerto Rico), "La Magia del Quetzal" (Guatemala), and "El Aguila y la serpiente" (Aztec). They just barely qualify as animation, since the pictures don't even move, and they are not even good drawings to begin with.

Send comments, questions, or recommendations to:
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