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Chicha Films is founded in 2011 by director / producer Sharis Coppens. Chicha Films develops and produces anthropological documentaries, preferably about Latin America, oral history and/or music. In addition to reaching a broad international audience, special effort is made to distribute the documentaries in the countries where they were filmed. Chicha Films productions are also frequently used by NGOs and within the academic realm.
UCHPA – Rising from the ashes (working title)
Before Fredy Ortiz became the lead singer of fusion band Uchpa, he was a police officer fighting terrorism in Peru. Can his music be used as a tool for reconciliation?
Uchpa – Rising from the ashes is a musical portrait of Fredy Ortiz, the charismatic singer of Peruvian rock band Uchpa. Born and raised in a remote village in the Andes and now living in the capital Lima, Ortiz sets out to promote the Andean culture and Quechua language that is still marginalized in his country. His band mixes international rock and blues with indigenous music styles and instruments and incorporates indigenous symbols, folklore and rituals in its energetic live performances. Ortiz sings exclusively in his mother tongue Quechua, the language of the Peruvian highlands that is disappearing slowly. This makes Uchpa unique, but also complicates their popularity.
Uchpa, formed in 1993, found its initial inspiration in Peru´s violent past. Ortiz worked as a police officer when the Maoist-inspired guerrilla organization Sendero Lumino (Shining Path) terrorized the Andes. The state responded with equally fierce violence which left the rural Quechua population caught in between these two powers. Official estimations come to more than 69.000 victims; of which about thirty per cent was killed or forcefully disappeared by the Peruvian army and police. For years Ortiz worked in the most conflict stricken areas. Because of the continuous fear and violence he experienced and inflicted during the dirty war, he is traumatized and has deep feelings of guilt. His early music is in part a denouncement of the violence and can be perceived as a way to cope with his trauma.
Since the age of 43 Ortiz is a fulltime musician. He divides his time between the Andes where his parents still live and where he worked as a police officer; the capital of Lima where he nowadays lives and works; and Sweden, the country of his fiancée he met on the internet five years ago. The documentary travels with Ortiz and shows how he moves between these different worlds and fuses the ‘extremos paracidos’ (comparable extremes) into his life and music.
Ortiz sees his country is changing slowly. After two decades of extreme violence, corruption and an authoritarian government, there are more social, economic and political openings. The country wants to leave its dark past behind and is looking to the future. It searches for new cultural directions. In this new, optimistic Peru people start to take pride in their rural roots and Andean background. With the upcoming release of Uchpa’s new CD, expectations are high. Will Uchpa finally manage to reach new audiences and put the Andean culture and Quechua back on the map?
Teaser available upon request.