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Home/Stories and articles/Recovery
September 2002
TV shows that rescue what's Chilean:

For the good and for the bad, a mutual determination operates between TV and people's identity: not only does their idiosyncrasy reflect on screen, but also television influences the audience's ideas, behaviors and images. Some have intentionally used television to put Chileans in contact with their identity, provoking on the viewer -through history, landscapes, cultural production and heritage—the emotion of re-finding what's theirs. Not all have had the same luck.

By Rosario Mena

"Tierra Adentro": to diversity's rescue
A successful intent for the finding of our roots is the TV show "Tierra adentro". Transmitted by Channel 7, it has been showing for more than eleven years spaces and experiences from contexts outside the mainstream. "We fill the screen with those simple daily things that happen in so many places outside the city, where our identity's reserve is found", says its creator and general director, Paul Landon. He defines his work as a "life project from a team that lives, moves, and vibrates together with the people that silently work with our country's natural resources".

To rescue the traditions and, at the same time, discover the creativity from anonymous men and women has been the unmistakable hallmark of this show. And this is no casual thing: to claim the value of cultural diversity as a requirement of sustainable development, is this project's driving force. "The choice of an 'amicable development' is for real", says Landon. "It is necessary to recognize in our people all the wisdom from biodiversity and communitarian life. It is the songs of our country, the efforts of farmers and cattle breeders, what teaches us how to live with the environment and give us real sustainability projects".

The show, which has stayed on the air thanks to people's support becoming TV's most systematic contribution to the recovery of rural culture, got the APES Award 1998. Currently it is one of the nominees for the Award to the Chilean 2002.

More info at www.tierra-adentro.cl

"Patiperros": how they see us, how we see us
If there is one good way to recognize those traces that identify our own country and compatriots, it is, precisely, getting out of this country. That way we get the necessary perspective to judge all that closeness makes it hard to read. Out of one's own land, thanks to nostalgia, it blooms more than ever the sense of belonging to a place that has been left behind. To dissolve in a new culture or reinforce one's own traditions are also ways to consolidate our roots. If to that we add motives, usually determined by political and economic contingencies, characteristical shapes by which people from each country relate as foreigners in a city, and the ties that bind the immigrant colonies, one understands the force of a show like "Los patiperros".

The series of stories —born as an idea for National TV on the year 1990, and put on the air in 1996, initially with the direction of Cristián Leighton and the production of Juan Harting— shows the lives of Chileans living on different foreign cities.

"The return of democracy generated an opening to Chilean culture outside of Chile, with the return of exiles that contributed with a new perspective of our identity", explains the show's director, Cristián Leighton, who adapted the original idea.

A view of Chileans that is close and far at the same time, is also in all the foreigners that come to live to Chile, and see us from a place not always comfortable. "Inmigrantes" ("Immigrants"), the following series to "Los patiperros" made my Ross Film production company for National TV, showed the other side of the mirror, with stories from foreign people and families living in our country, and who have awaken among Chileans something that may go from the warmest hospitality to the most intolerant racism.

More info at www.tvn.cl

"Al sur del mundo": man and his environment
The tragedy of culture on TV, suffocated by rating's dictatorship and sponsoring, was made evident last year with the cancellation of the show "Al sur del mundo " ("South of the world"). It was taken out of Channel 13's programming to give space to a contest hosted by Don Francisco in the line of "Jeopardy". The motives were not hidden: the show was "too elevated" for the Channel's goals. Those affected denounced the station's policies, generating a big opinion movement and support to its project, whose transmissions were finally relegated to the showing of old chapters by Channel 13 cable signal.

To understand nature as heritage, history, habitat and culture is the goal of a show such as "Al sur del mundo". Made by Francisco y Guedda and his team, with the help of the most outstanding researchers, archeologists and professionals related to patrimony, this series of documentaries was born twenty years ago. It goes into Chile's different landscapes, unraveling the forces that operate within, the origins, habits and beliefs of those that inhabit them, with a focus both humanist and scientific, rooted on anthropology. Their chapters have become a rich and wide archive of Chile and its cultural patrimony, and have been distributed since 1996 to countries such as Mexico, Canada, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland.

"Al sur del mundo"'s team has made co-productions with Discovery Latin America-Iberia, along with other series like "Bajo la cruz del sur" and different documentaries for Universities, Institutions, companies and international events such as "Expo Sevilla". Besides being awarded in different international festivals, in 1985 and 1990, the show got the National Television Council Award. In 1993 the Ministry of Education officially declared it as auxiliary material for education. The following year it was recognized by the APES (Entertainment Journalists Association).

More info at www.alsurdelmundo.cl

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