Jats’uts Meyah is a documentary that tells the story and life of Bacila, who seeks to recover the influence of the Maya midwives who with great knowledge have helped bring thousands of babies into this world and which, little by little, have become a forgotten practice.
The documentary emphasizes the daily work of women along with the social and economic problems that prevail in the region.
The main character is Bacila Tzec Uc, originally from Yaxhanchén, a Maya rural community located in the Oxkutzkab municipality in the state of Yucatan.
Bacila is the last midwife in the town and, with more than 60 years of experience, shares her ancestral knowledge acquired through decades of work. Her lifestyle is 100% traditional, respecting Maya customs and preserving these traditions that are her only source of income until today at 92 years of age.
The feature film highlights sustainable indigenous traditions that are in danger of extinction such as midwifery, cornfields and cooking over an open fire.
Using the voices of the community, she explains the Mayan culture, emphasizing and strengthening the importance of customs, representing indigenous women through film, with the hope of inspiring the new generation of girls to be proud of their indigenous roots.
The film’s duration is 77 minutes and its stories are told by the participants in Maya and Spanish language. The production, post-production, film’s edition and musical content were produced and made in Mexico.
Bacila does not want the tradition to end with her death and, after several years raising financial funds, she joined the Yucatecan producer Oscar Estrada, with whom she formed a great team, and they have put all their effort and love in carrying out this project.
“As Yaxhanchén is very remote location, the production went through various difficulties, but that did not stop us from achieving our goal, to empower Bacila and the people of Yaxhachén to tell their story in their own words,” explains the director, Amanda Strickland, writer, activist, director, and anthropologist, originally from Mississippi, United States; who also collaborated on editing the project together with Iran Sánchez Ruíz.
The executive production was in charge of Linda Budd and Scott Budd, photography by Allie M. Jordan and sound and editing by Eduardo Campos.
The documentary premiers today May 20 on the Vimeo platform, which is Bacila’s 92nd birthday.