A DOCUMENTARY FILM
A DOCUMENTARY FILM
SO CLOSE TO THE SKY is an intimate portrayal of Ngäbe-Buglé families as they continue a 500-year-long battle for the possession and protection of their ancestral lands against proposals from the outside world - but now with different tools.
The film follows an ancient footpath that links the Caribbean and Pacific oceans through the wilderness of the Talamanca mountain range. The trail connects three Ngäbe-Buglé families who are at drastically different stages of modern awareness, journeying through what feels like 100 years to show the intersection of modern and traditional life in the jungle. The land is their sustenance, their culture, their medicine, their history and the single constant that ties together a diverse and evolving tribe.
This is not the story of a remote people clinging stubbornly to ancient traditions, but the story of a cultural evolution that will allow them to remain a united culture in a modern world. While they still choose to live without electricity, running water or roads, the Ngäbe utilize religious revival, the internet, political representation and protests that effectively stalled a nation to take back their rights from a corrupt system, even when international human rights protections fail them.
The following teaser is from our initial expedition in 2013. We have spent an additional 4 months filming over the course of 2 years.
Produced in association with the film:
Panama's largest indigenous group battle big business for control of their homeland.
Julio is a traditional curandero who lives at a homestead in the remote, jungle region of Bocas del Toro, Panama. From the forest around his home, he cultivates and collects hundreds of wild plants to make medicines for ailments ranging from headaches to chronic pain, colds to digestive issues.
(translated from Spanish) The documentary 'So Close to the Sky' explores the lives of Ngäbe-Buglés communities immersed in the provinces of Bocas del Toro and Chiriqui.
Documentary filmmakers Anica Wu and Emily Kinskey discuss the production of an independent documentary film while balancing freelance careers.
SO CLOSE TO THE SKY is the first feature-length documentary produced and directed by Anica Wu and Emily Kinskey. Based in Chicago and Oakland, they currently co-produce select spots with a focus on honest storytelling and universal human truths.
Anica Wu is a first-generation Chinese-American documentary filmmaker and media producer. She has produced broadcast commercials, web content video, and location and studio photography for national retail brands. As the child of immigrants, Anica gravitates towards themes of identity, foreignness, and the continual search of home. It is through her parents' story of courage, humility, and perseverance that has shaped her own values and work ethics. She is currently based in Oakland, CA.
Emily Kinskey is a filmmaker, multimedia journalist and entrepreneur. For the past 5 years she has been documenting land and human rights abuses and cultural change among the indigenous in Panama. Her work focuses on underreported and persecuted subcultures, and is characterized by collaborative videography and innovative multimedia that empowers communities in framing their shared narrative post-trauma. Her work has appeared in AJ+, Roads and Kingdoms, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Makeshift Magazine, The Independent, The International Ecotourism Society, and other international publications.