In 2016, I and two other members, Conor Roach and Martín Lazarte, founded Cuéntame Zine, a storytelling platform and grassroots organization that explores the impacts of ableism. For the past several years, Cuéntame has collaborated with four disabled Peruvian women and one mother of disabled youth to create a documentary film that uplifts their stories of activism.
The film, which we filmed from 2017 through 2019 in Lima, Peru, centers the stories of five activists: Bárbara Ventura, Carla Mertz, Elizabeth Sanchez Campos, Orfelia Zanabria, and Luz Vilchez. The film follows these five women in their day-to-day lives as they organize and work to dismantle systems of oppression. The film, titled Cuéntame, celebrates their lives and their community work while examining why these women's work is necessary.
The film has been a deeply collaborative process. Each of the film's protagonists dictated how, where, and for how long they wanted us to film them. As part of the interview process, we also invited every woman to make edits to our questions and make suggestions for the other protagonists' questions. The choice to collaborate was intentional and of the utmost importance to ensure that the way we documented these stories truly represented each protagonists' experiences.
We also plan to craft an educational tool out of the film. Our goal is to share the documentary and a curriculum on ableism with schools and universities in the United States and worldwide. The curriculum will provoke students to have discussions on ableism and systems of oppression, the importance of activism and how students can incorporate activism into their own lives, and the exploration of how lasting change can happen at the microlevel.
This film is currently near completion, but it lacks audio descriptions, which are necessary for the accessibility of the film.
What our grantee is saying: "We are beyond honored to receive the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter’s grant for February 2021! This grant will ensure that the stories of Bárbara Ventura, Carla Mertz, Elizabeth Sánchez Campos, Luz Maria Vilchez Ricse, and Orfelia Zanabria Cáceres are presented in an accessible format. Thank you so much for helping this documentary reach as many people as possible!"
Funded by Disability (February 2021)