Over the last few months, Tom and I have faced a serious dilemma over what to do with our film from the Santa Cruz river. Do we bide our time - slowly refining and tweaking until we get exactly the film that we want to create- or, do we put a full stop to it and try to get it out as quickly as possible?
The complexity arises, of course, because of the time-sensitive nature of the dams project on the Rio Santa Cruz. For anyone new to the issue, then a (vastly simplified) summary would go something like this:
The Rio Santa Cruz is the last large free flowing glacial river in Argentina. Two huge dams are due to be built on it, despite the lack of an official impact study. The case has been held up in the Supreme Court for months, but it seems likely the project will be allowed to continue.
Tom and I arrived in Patagonia with the goal of being open-minded to the dams. It’s a fact that Argentina is suffering from a power crisis, and the purported energy boost from the dams would be well-received. What we found, however, was a project riddled with holes; oversights in the planning, issues swept under the table. We became convinced that the dams - at least in their current form - were not just a bad idea, they were potentially disastrous for the environment and ecosystem of the Santa Cruz valley.
Our film is still at the ‘tweaking’ stage. We’ve tried to temper the desire to show our document of the river at this fragile point in time, with the thought that this film has got to tell the story in the right way (and in a form that will have some longevity, pointing to the universality of this battle between nature and progress.)
In the meantime, we’ve created a website - www.riosantacruzfilm.com with some of the basic facts and resources around the issue in Patagonia. We’ve also put together a short film, gathering together some thoughts of the local people and major members of the opposition to the dams.
I’d love to hear what you think of the video. I’d love it even more if you’d visit the website and spend some time there. It will grow as things develop and more information becomes available, so keep an eye on it. There's still a chance things will change. Tom and I are going to try and help the cause as much as we possibly can.