Synopsis

Trouble In The Highlands will explore the tumultuous history of Guatemala’s indigenous communities and why the Maya remain desperately poor, exploited and outside the corridors of political power. The lack of indigenous representation in government affects all aspects of life: the quality of schools, the availability of health care in rural areas, and respect for indigenous culture and traditions. Trouble In The Highlands will review the turbulent history of Guatemala and address the current migrant crisis at the US Mexico border. Through the eyes of Maya academics, activists and political leaders, the documentary will explore reasons why so many are leaving and what is being done to reverse the economic and social stagnation.

In contrast to the challenges the Maya face achieving political representation, recent political change in Bolivia offers an example of how that country’s indigenous leaders have achieved political success over the past 20 years, which as a result has improved its indigenous communities’ standard of living and cultural self respect. In 2006 Evo Morales became the first indigenous President in Bolivia’s history. Morales’ success was not won overnight but preceded by his and other Aymara leaders’ clever political organization. Bolivia’s success in legislating electoral reforms will provide a model for Guatemala’s indigenous communities. Trouble In The Highlands will be narrated and told through the eyes and perspective of indigenous leaders in Guatemala and Bolivia. It will conclude in Guatemala’s Maya highlands with examples of local and country-wide reform initiatives.

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The Team
Hal Rifken has worked for numerous cable and broadcast networks domestically and abroad.Read More
Mark was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala. With an MA in Latin American Studies..Read More
Alana’s latest feature documentary production is the institutional history of the Peace Corps..Read More
George C. Vena earned a BA degree in Political Science and Spanish from Marquette University..Read More
Our Partners
Arts Wisconsin
Revue Magazine
Million Mile Walker
Rotary International
Resources
A Documentary Film Production, Guatemala: Trouble In The Highlands
"A Documentary Film Production, Guatemala: Trouble In The Highlands", Revue Magazine, February 2020
Hugs not Walls: Reuniting the Children
“Hugs not Walls: Reuniting the Children”, by Mark D. Walker, Arizona Literary Magazine 2020, November 2019, Reissued in Revue Magazine, December 2019
Trouble in the Highlands
“Trouble in the Highlands”, by Mark D. Walker, WorldView Magazine, Summer 2019, Reissued in Revue Magazine, September 2019
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