Capturing the Vanishing Gaucho Traditions of Southern Chile
The United States Congressional Award partnered with the camera company GoPro to create a challenge for youth to demonstrate talent and creativity with video and film technology. A panel of judges selected two submissions from each state. Ours was one of the California selections.
We will be filming and producing a 3-minute video about the vanishing life and culture of the huasos (or gauchos) of northern Patagonia—specifically in the Cochamó Valley area, which is famously known as the “Yosemite of Chile.”
This entire region has benefitted from, but also been affected by, tourism within the last 20 years. Known for its serenity and beauty, this area of Chile is attracting increasing numbers of travelers each year. The Cochamó Valley is now a top destination for hikers, climbers, and adventure seekers. The introduction of tourism and modernization is impacting the self-sufficient ranching and farming traditions of the huasos. This is an opportunity for us to document the life of people who know what it means to live simply, but time is running out because of 21st century change.
We will base ourselves in a local lodge, Campo Aventura. From there we will drive up into Argentina and eventually cross back into Chile through a little settlement called Paso el Leon on the border. The next 3-4 days will be spent riding on horseback along a 120-year-old trail that runs from the border to Cochamó, where Campo Aventura is located. This is the same trail that was once used by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid while they were hiding out deep in the Andes. A local gaucho will lead us on this journey in the mountains where he grew up in and spent his entire life raising livestock and farming. We will stop in the La Junta valley, which is often referred to as the “Yosemite of Chile”. There we will hike high up onto granite mountain tops to get a better view of the northern Patagonia rainforest wilderness. We will begin documenting immediately once the trip starts to ensure we don’t miss anything.
The Congressional award has a deadline for the final product on August 15, 2017. Doing this trip in March will give us enough time to go through all the footage and produce the best quality product. After the video is submitted, judges will pick one outstanding video, and the producers of that masterpiece will be invited to attend a youth technology conference in Washington D.C.
The next step in making this a reality, is funding and support. We have set a bench mark of $2,500 USD to meet minimal travel costs. Anything to push us above and beyond this set target would be more than appreciated.