“If we all go to the cities, what stories would be left to tell?”
Deep in the dense and rich rainforest that extends for hundreds of miles along Colombia’s Pacific coast, at the banks of the Guapi River, the chirping sounds of insects mingle every day with the distinctive notes of the percussion instruments of two craftsmen musician brothers. In the heart of this abundant ecosystem – the second most biodiverse rainforest in the world, in a humble wooden hut, is where Genaro and Francisco Torres have spent their entire life. Day after day they can be found crafting and playing their musical instruments, keeping alive a tradition they inherited from their father. The Silence of the Jungle is an intense and progressive observational film that explores the intimate aspects of these brothers’ human condition, their music, their friendship and their daily interaction with one of the world’s most fascinating natural settings.
Why is it called The Silence of the Jungle? Because they are marginalised and their voices largely unheard. One of the reasons for doing this film is to advocate the country's cultural identity. It also refers to the remoteness of the place they inhabit and the vast dense jungle that surrounds them. Why is no one buying the Marimbas? There's simply no easy way for them to transport them to the nearest town, which is about 30 minutes by plane across one of the most dense rainforest in the planet. People interested in buying marimbas don't need to come this far, they can get them in the cities from people who mass produce them cheaply. The original marimbas these brothers build have a unique tonal range and a very distinct timbre - sadly not many people know their origins so these types are rapidly disappearing. How is story telling linked to music for the brothers? They sing anecdotes and tales from their ancestors often linked to religious themes worshiping saints and other deities. They also have plenty of stories about animals, the cycles of nature, the river and the moon. It is widely believed that the devil taught the old generation of musicians how to play and tune the marimbas. It sounds like a myth, but the truth is that after hearing them play one can start believing this could actually be true. Is it a sad story or is there some hope? I think it is a sad story ultimately, but we wouldn't want to victimise the characters. I wouldn't like an audience to feel sorry for them. They do have problems to worry about, but it is not all doom and gloom, there is a lot to learn from their sense of humour, their resourcefulness, their positive outlook in the face of challenges and the inspiration that keeps them going What are the environmental threats to the area? They live in Colombia's pacific coast ecoregion. There are threats to their community as coca plantations keep expanding, bringing along deforestation and violence. New trafficking routes are being built through the jungle. When will the finished film be out? We had to put the project on hold as the situation in the region has become critical. The area has seen an increasing number of violent attacks from guerrillas and paramilitary groups who keep fighting for the land and control of the trafficking routes. As soon as is safe to travel with a filming crew to the area we will resume the project.
In Development Duration: 90 Min Format: HD 16:9 Color Production Company: Third Channel