After the Forest [in progress]

The epistemologies of the South find in the P’urhépecha forest the most convincing confirmation that it is possible to build a history of living guided by intersectionality, pluralism and horizontal self-governance. A quiet revolution is taking place in the P’urhépecha forest of Michoacan in Mexico, resulting in the consolidation of an Indigenous autonomous government. Cherán is the first autonomous Indigenous community with a new system of governance built on P’urhépecha traditions, officially recognized by the Mexican state. The 2011 P’urhépecha uprising in Cherán was born of the need to fight against decades of illegal logging, the presence of narco-cartels, and various forms of extraction that pushed the P’urhépecha to become both slaves and accomplices of those crimes. The Indigenous P’urhépecha are ancestral victims of state power and colonial forms of governance woven with violent disparities of race, class and geography.

Through careful observation of the forest, this documentary explores the architecture of colonial legacies and extractive processes in relation to the material infrastructure of the forest, the built environment and the multiple negotiations in between. By exploring issues of race, sovereignty, geography and class as they intersect with legacies of colonial violence and extractive global processes, this documentary highlights some of the key players involved in the complex negotiation for land ownership, territorial jurisdiction and political autonomy between Indigenous P’urhépecha, organized crime and state power.


Teaser 3 mins.


Director statement

The reason for making this film is both political and personal, as memories of the pastoral landscapes of my childhood clashes against contemporary images of extreme violence. I’ve been filming and conducting field work in the state of Michoacán for several years, becoming familiar not only with the people involved in these violent events, but also with the landscape. Unlike a journalist, who generally sticks to the factual and the historical, my intention as a documentarian is to present a series of cinematic descriptions of what it means to live in Mexico in this precise moment.

I’m interested in depicting how these violent processes unfold in the landscape and how past atrocities continue to haunt the present.

Victor Arroyo.




This film received support from the residencies:

Talent Lab
RIDM 2017
Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal

[ LINK ]

El Colegio De Michoacan
Centro de Estudios en Geografia Humana.
2015 – 2018

[ LINK ]


Financial Support

Canada Council for the Arts.

Programme Documentaire à Risque.

Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, Recherche, Science et Technologie.
Gouvernement du Québec.

Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement Supérieur.
Gouvernement du Québec.

Concordia University.
Faculty of Fine Arts.

El Colegio de Michoacan.
Centro de Estudios en Geografia Humana.

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