"Beimar Mamani”, no in postproduction, is a documentary about the plight of immigrants from Bolivia in Argentina, a nation of mostly European ancestry that often turns its back on the indigenous folks coming from bordering countries. Beimar Mamani was twenty-four years old and the father of two when he was clubbed to death by white supremacist bouncers at a nightclub in Buenos Aires. The day after the murder, I visited Remi, Beimar's wife, to tell her that one day I would make a film to let their children know about the sad and cruel story of Beimar Mamani.
My journey started in Potosi, the ancient homeland of the Mamani clan. At an altitude of 13,419 feet, Potosi is the second-highest city in the world, home to the colonial silver mines in Cerro Rico, where most of the Mamani still make their living. Like everyone else, I paid tribute to The Uncle of the Underground in Cerro Rico. The Uncle is a devilish totem standing alone one hundred feet inside the main mineshaft, and there, in the presence of the Lord of the Underground, I broke bread with Bolivian miners.
From Potosí, I followed the winding road to Sucre and Santa Cruz. A few weeks later, I crossed the mosquito-infested waters of the Bermejo River into Argentina. On the other side, men and women carrying their children and few belongings were waiting to cross the border to continue the 1000 miles journey to the Bajo Flores, the shanty town of 1.5 million in the heart of Buenos Aires.
El Bajo Flores is a patchwork of identities of hardworking immigrants from Bolivia, Perú, Paraguay, and Venezuela. El Bajo Flores is the other Norte, where those who can't make it to the United States hope to find a better life.
"Beimar Mamani" is a film about a pilgrimage to the land of milk and honey, which does not always end as it was supposed to end. To my family, Argentina stood as the promised land; to Beimar Mamani, it was just the opposite.
HD | 60 minutes
Directed by Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Director of Photography: Norberto "Negro" Ramirez
Buenos Aires, Potosí, Tarija, Santa Cruz, Bermejo.