Inspiration for the project
When Director Mariel Sosa traveled to the province of Cajamarca in 2011 at the age of fourteen. She witnessed something that would allow her to explore the issues of social justice and environmental impact of mining. In 2011, the Peruvian government declared the city of Cajamarca in a state of emergency due to high rise of protests in the region. Communities spoke against powerful mining companies. Mariel found herself in the middle of these protests, watching the multitude chanting: Water Yes, Gold No. The voice of one farmer was heard in particular: Máxima Acuña.
Máxima: This land of Mine was born out of the Director's personal interest to re-discover this character. One hears so much about her in Peruvian news, but little information there is about the person underneath her. What does she like to do? Who is her family? What she loves to cook? In this documentary Mariel Sosa digs into the world of the woman, wife and mother named Máxima and the decisions that later turned her into a symbol of resistance.
About the film
On a remote farm deep in the Peruvian Andes, in a region where sheep outnumber people by a comfortable margin, a farmer is foiling the plans of one of the biggest mining companies in the world.
In 2011, Máxima Acuña went to court after Minera Yanacocha, a Peruvian company majority owned by Newmont Mining Corp. of Denver, declared war over her piece of land. The cause of the conflict: there is gold on Acuña’s land. Or, more accurately, under it, at least 6 million ounces, here and on adjacent property.
The company wants to build a $4.8 billion mine, known as Conga, to extract the precious ore. Acuña’s neighbors seem to have gotten the message that standing in the way of such a lucrative development is a losing battle. They are long gone. But Acuña, 47, and her husband, Jaime Chaupe, 49, are still fighting to keep their land they know how hard they’ve worked to call that place their home.
"These lakes, these mountains are my only witnesses, of all my suffering"- Máxima
On the morning of January 2015, in order to lay the foundations of a house, Máxima Acuña Atalaya stung the stones of a hill with blows that were dry and accurate like those of a lumberjack. Acuña is less than a meter and a half, but it loads rocks twice its weight on the back.
When she visits the city of Cajamarca, the capital of the northern highlands of Peru where she lives, she is afraid of being run over by cars, but is able to face a backhoe in motion to defend the land she inhabits, the only one with abundant water for her crops. She never learned to read and write, but since 2011 has prevented a gold mining company from expelling her from her home.
For farmers, human rights defenders and ecologists, Máxima Acuña is an example of courage and resistance. For whom the progress of a country depends on exploiting its natural resources, it is a stubborn and selfish peasant. Or, worse, a woman who seeks to get money from a millionaire company.
"I have been told that there is enough gold beneath my land and the lagoon," says Maxima Acuna, his voice high. That's why they want me out of here."
Trailer coming soon
"During my third year in college, I decided to pack my bags and go back to my homeland in search of a story that I had so long awaited to make it a reality. With no major tv or news network in my back, I decided to search for Máxima.
I did a film, yes. But I also lived an experience. The time I spent with her (Máxima) and her family is part of me now. I lived with Máxima, share the same room, eat what we grow, got threatened by the police, cry and laugh together. I told a story, but it is only a part of her life. I am excited to see what the future holds for the both of us".