Meet My World – London
Irantzu and Maureen had the pleasure of attending the Meet My World screening hosted by charity Amantani and Peruvian restaurant Andina last night at the Union Chapel in Islington. The picturesque venue was sold out with 800 guests taking their seats to Peruvian music.
Meet My World is a participatory film campaign developed by indigenous children from the Andes of Peru.
Watch the trailer here.
Amantani is an Anglo Peruvian NGO, which works to help children from marginalised Quechua families to access education, stimulating social development for Peru’s most disadvantaged communities. Together with their friends at the Andina restaurant in London, they have created Meet My World.
Cristina Patiño Sheen is a freelance shooter, director and editor who has been working with Amantani for the best part of 3 years. Originally from Peru, when she settled in London, Cristina approached Peruvian restaurant Ceviche, who has now expanded with their 3rd restaurant, called Andina.
The talented filmmaker is curating their Youtube Channel that boasts 5000 subscribers and shooting content for owner Martin Morales. Through this connection, she was introduced to charity Amantani, founded by Fred Branson who co-directs with Chris Palfreyman.
Amantani’s work highlights that talent and potential are evenly dispersed, but opportunity is not. They are raising awareness by engaging in creative ways to build bridges, that share and celebrate Peruvian culture and the day to day lives of the children. Last night, the topic of the films – ‘How to have fun without technology’ – unfolded as a clever interactive screening and eating experience.
Upon arrival, guests were given numbered bento boxes filled with morsels of authentic Peruvian dishes, each inspired and created by the children with the help of Martin Morales, who then brought their ideas to London and with his team created the ‘taste’ part of the evening for 800 guests.
The result was a playful and delicious accompaniment to each of the films, enabling the children to share the tastes of their world too. For example, as we watched a film on the sowing and harvesting of potatoes, and the moments of tradition and connection that the children experienced with their family and elders in their community, we simultaneously sampled delicious Peruvian dishes created with the potatoes.
Creating a full circle and what can only be described as a profoundly humbling and touching experience, the technology set up at Union Chapel will enable the children and their teachers to share in the evening via a taping of last night’s event that will show them the audience’s response and interaction with the films, the food and the entire experience.
One film was not food-related and featured a young girl called Roxanna who loves making woven bracelets, a skill she’s learnt at school. A matchbox inside the guest packs included a bracelet from Roxanna – the very same ones we’d just seen her making in the film. Wearing the bracelet is a reminder that bring us back to the connection and joy we shared with the children of Ccorca during the evening.
The children were absolutely the stars of the evening. Amantani’s purpose is to feature the positive aspects of the Ccorca community, not glossing over the problems that living in the rural remote parts of Peru without most of the modern day comforts can represent, but to draw people to engage with the vibrant, life-loving and playful inhabitants, and most importantly, their children.
‘Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.
Learn something from him, and give him back his dignity’.
Cristina’s role as she directed, shot and edited each of the films along with the children was integral to giving them a voice and reaching out to the world. The children are initially shy but then open up, one by one and what unfolds is an authentic experience of their daily lives and interests, whether it’s catching a fish with their bare hands or sledding down a mountain on a flattened plastic bottle.
What started a few years ago as a photography exhibition has now blossomed into a film series showcasing children’s voices and bringing them opportunities that would otherwise not be a given.
The whole evening was dotted with breaks to learn more about the charities long term aims and for audience members to text in a monthly pledge going towards a goal of £1,600 per month, which would put 200 secondary school pupils of Ccorca through their computer course.
This is a big factor in enabling children graduating from secondary school to go on to further study and work opportunities in the modern market. Londoners were definitely receptive to the cause as by the close of the evening, Amantani was well underway to achieving their target.
London was only the first of a series of three Meet My World screenings: you can next see it in Lima on the 23rd and 24th of November and then in New York, with a date TBC.
A beautiful, engaging and very worthy cause which reflected in the atmosphere of the evening and whose powerful message is perfectly captured by Cristina’s words:
“What we are trying to achieve here is creating bridges based on respect and understanding between people whose ways of life, at first glance, seem so far apart. But we are bringing their world to your world so that everyone can see that we are all the same, with similar dreams and similar families, and with the same love for nature, fun and life.”