Ayênan

A film by Felipe Castelblanco and Lydia Zimmermann, with Ñambi Rimai Media Collective

In Kamënstá languagethe word Ayênan means “the smallest particle in the universe that jumpstarts life.”

This film documents a counter-expedition that follows the upward movement of water throughout its natural cycle, going from the Andean-Amazon foothills to the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Colombia. Along the way, this journey reveals the traces of a long-forgotten expedition in search of El Dorado. Still, this time, a group of indigenous and non-indigenous filmmakers come to request permission from the territory and harmonize with it.

Climbing up from a river in the lower Amazon to a lake in the upper Andes, members of Ñambi Rimai Media Collective come to a sacred landscape to plant water back into the mountain and return a long-lost treasure. Together they create an offering, a ritual, which embodies situated forms of biocultural peace-building between regions, cultures, and non-human worlds. Ultimately, the film explores how representational techniques like film can dialogue with a landscape beyond the realm of visibility. Doing so opens an aesthetic path to explore the connection between indigenous ways of seeing, territorial thinking, mutual acknowledging, and much-needed acts of reciprocity.