NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Grad Lucia Florez Awarded National Geographic Explorer Grant

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New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking graduate, Lucía Flórez, was recently awarded the prestigious National Geographic Explorer grant for her upcoming film Shirampari, about indigenous Amazonian fishermen. The project was awarded additional financial support from a grant made by the 10ARTS Foundation.

The film follows Ashéninka leader, Arlindo, as he teaches his 11-year-old son their community’s tradition of catfishing using just a hook. The story of Arlindo weaves together numerous social and environmental issues such as the uncurtail destruction of the Amazon, the impact on native communities that rely on the habitat that is being stolen, and the threats and denial of human rights by powerful groups against the activists and community organizers.  

NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Grad Lucia Florez Awarded National Geographic Explorer Grant

Photo Credit: Christian Luglio / El Taller

Flórez is joined by Chemi Pérez, a NYFA Filmmaking graduate, who took over the producing role for the project and met Florez while they were studying together in Los Angeles. Both Flórez and Pérez attended NYFA’s MFA Programs as grantees of the prestigious U.S. State Department’s Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Program — Flórez with the support of the Peruvian Fulbright Commission, and Pérez with support by the Spanish Fulbright Commission.  Both of these outstanding graduates were also awarded the distinguished Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship (MMMS) by NYFA. “NYFA has supported us since the beginning,” Flórez shared, “Learning at NYFA gave us more tools to be able to tell the story.”

The team shared that the project could only be filmed during a two-week window in the summer due to the water level and conditions. It took the crew several days to get to the remote shooting location via multiple planes, overnight stays in the jungle, a 5-hour boat ride upstream (and dislodging the boat when it repeatedly got stuck in the low tide), and a long hike to the campsite.

NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Grad Lucia Florez Awarded National Geographic Explorer Grant

Photo Credit: Christian Luglio / El Taller

Pérez and Flórez shared the urgency of telling the story at this moment and in showcasing a story that highlights the importance of legacy and conservation. According to Flórez, “It’s a pristine part of the Amazon. The amount of wildlife you see there is amazing. That area will change in the next 10 years… it’s not going to look this way ever again.”

The film is currently in post-production with plans for a festival run in the Spring of 2022.

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Published on: November 22, 2021

Filled Under: Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights

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