Defenders of Life
Director: Dana Ziyasheva
Producer: Igor Darbo
Writer: Dana Ziyasheva
Cinematographer: Julio Constantini
Editor: Fernando Fonseca & Dana Ziyasheva
Production Designer: Dana Ziyasheva & Igor Darbo
Synopsis: Shot on location in the rainforest of Costa Rica, the film follows the tragic destinies of 3 generations of indigenous Ngäbe women. According to the ancient tradition, tribe matriarch doña Carmen must marry her only granddaughter Esmeralda soon after her first blood ritual. 70 year old shaman don Claudio lays his claim to the girl, but all the youngster wants is to sing and play with her new friend, American teenager Feb, who just arrived at the community with his candid anthropologist mother…
Screening Time: October 25th 12:15 pm
Dana Ziyasheva (writer & director): Dana was born and raised in Kazakhstan, USSR. After a career as a journalist and reporter in her home country, she joined the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) where she designed and managed assistance programmes in the field of communication in France, Iraq, China, Mongolia, North Korea and Central America. A seasoned UN diplomat with 20+ years of experience in the field, Dana established community radio stations, libraries, a public service channel and tele-centers in the African bush, deserts and mountains of East Asia and islands off the Panamanian coasts. In between the missions, negotiating with governments and contributing to implementation of international conventions and UN Plan of Actions, she was involved in audiovisual projects on Central China TV and China Film Group. Her first feature film “Defenders of Life” takes place in rainforests on the border between Costa Rica and Panama. It was born out of an unlikely friendship between Dana and Carmen, a matriarch from the Ngäbe indigenous tribe and went on to win Best Foreign Feature Film award at the 2015 Burbank International Film Festival, Best Director Award at the 2015 Manaus Film Festival and numerous selections in festivals around the world.
Igor Darbo (producer): Igor is a multiple award-winning producer from France. A graduate from Harvard University, Igor worked on various Sino-Western coproduction feature films as well as youth TV series on China Central Television Kids Channel (CCTV Kids). He is the producer of “The Dragon Angel”, an ambitious family fiction feature set in modern day China that won the “Best Film Project to Invest” award at the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival. While keeping a foot in Asia, Igor expended his activities to Central America where he produced and financed “Defenders of Life”, a feature fiction film about the Ngäbe indigenous people of Costa Rica, laureate of the 2015 Burbank International Film Festival for Best Foreign Feature Film.
Julio Costantini (cinematographer) - Julio is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He graduated from EICTV (Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión - Cuba) and also attended the Global Cinematography Institute in Los Angeles. Julio started working on short-films in 2001 as a director of photography. Most recently his projects include TV shows and feature films, both fiction and documentary. Formats used vary from 35mm film to high-end digital technology (Alexa, Red, Sony, DSLR cameras, etc).
Andjei Petras (composer) - Andjei was born in 1972 in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) is a Russian musician, director, and scriptwriter. Winner of the Grand Prix of the French festival FIPA for the original music of the feature war epic Franz+Polina, the National Film Critics Award The White Elephant in the category "Best Music Score" ("Short Stories").