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Cayo Huerta


Project details

Audiovisual Design
External Minor

VALOR is a coming of age story based on South-American Mapuche spirituality mixed with Western street culture. Finding inner strength and purpose after loss by accepting one’s true self. Without any dialogue throughout the whole movie, all communication is done through dance alone.

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Mateo is a boy who just lost his mother, she wasn’t only his mother but also the spiritual leader of his tribe. It is up to Mateo to follow in his mother’s footsteps and guide his tribe. Being uncertain of his own capabilities the Spirits start to appear. Chased away by them, Mateo pursues on a journey for finding his own power.

Indigenous tribes lived within a society on which they depended on each other. Traditions and spirituality bring the community together. In the modern western world, this is no longer the case and we live in an individualistic lifestyle. Shutting off from each other and living within our own communities. How do we communicate with each other when our values, traditions or language differ.

With the film I want to show that culture always brings us together. It reflects norms and values, beliefs and ambitions. They define the national identity of a person. It is important to maintain our cultural background as it preserves our identity and integrity.

By combining the spirituality of the South-American Mapuche culture with the Western street culture, I want to show how someone grows up and develops their identity between two polarising cultures.

Our Chilean nationality was always a major part of the development of my identity. We were raised spiritually and family ties were strong. After the loss of my mother, I lost an important role model, but also a large part of my culture. Family ties watered down and everyone grieved on his/her way. How can the loss of a loved one contribute to the transformation of a new or stronger self-image?

The emptiness was filled by hanging in the street, which made me get into contact with street gangs at a very young age. I tried to establish new family ties within this group. These bonds were strengthened by seeking violence and abusing drug use to escape feelings and responsibilities. The toxic masculinity within the group caused an inner conflict with my sexuality that I started to discover.

Only after acknowledging my unresolved traumas and facing them was I able to accept myself and live without my self-destructive tendencies.

The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts Patagonia. Today the Mapuche makes up over 80% of the indigenous peoples in Chile, and about 9% of the total Chilean population. Mapuche in the Spanish-ruled areas mingled with Spanish during the colonial period, forming a mestizo population and losing their indigenous identity. Today, many Mapuche and Mapuche communities are engaged in the so-called Mapuche conflict over land and indigenous rights in both Argentina and in Chile.

Throughout the movie there will be no use of spoken dialogue. Everything will be communicated through dance. Dance is an universal language, it defies borders, it is one of the purest forms of expression. Dance ables us to express all deep-rooted emotions by the body alone.

Dance is entangled with representations of race, sexuality and gender in popular culture, choreography becomes a weapon for activism and emancipation.

VALOR Magazine

VALOR Thesis