Making the Film

High-altitude shooting was difficult on Chimborazo, not only because of the thin air, but also due to the uneven mountain terrain and the ice. We could only bring what equipment we could carry on our backs on the three-hour hike up to the ice mines. Weather changes quickly on Chimborazo, and storms descended upon us more than once.

Producer Rodrigo Donoso and I were, for the most part, a two-person film crew. We set up tents in Baltazar’s yard and camped for two weeks in Cuatro Esquinas so we could immerse ourselves in the family’s daily life. We ate breakfasts of horchata – a delicious hot drink of boiled grains (oats, rice, quinoa or barley) with sugar and cinnamon. Most mornings, we followed Baltazar or his brothers as they worked – on the mountain, in Riobamba and in Cuatro Esquinas. We also filmed the children at school. Dinners often consisted of quinoa soup along with rice, potatoes and fava beans. After dinner, we would spend time with the family and then retire to our tents to prepare for the next day’s shoot.

It was a privilege to be able to observe a community from within and to then to have the opportunity to share a part of it with audiences that may otherwise never have known it existed.

Baltazar prepares ropes from hay

Baltazar prepares ropes from hay

Baltazar chops ice from the mountain

Baltazar cuts the ice into blocks

Baltazar prepares to wrap the ice in hay

Baltazar packs the ice on his donkeys

With Baltazar and his wife on the way to market

Footage had to be transferred and reviewed every night

Rodrigo found enough cables to bring electricity to this nearby house

Camping in Baltazar's yard during production

Preparing for a long day of shooting

Shooting on the bus to Riobamba

Shooting on the bus to Riobamba

At a produce market in Riobamba

Shooting as Gregorio buys fruit for his ice cream

Shooting as Gregorio buys fruit for his ice cream

A woman poses for a picture

At the Riobamba ice factory

Ice is made under the floor

Shooting the ice

The shop where Gregorio buys ice cream cones

Gregorio buys supplies for his ice cream

Gregorio prepares his barrel to make some ice cream

Gregorio unpacks the ice he bought from the factory

Gregorio unpacks the ice he bought from the factory

Gregorio's wife and daughter watch as we film

Baltazar has developed a clever method to load his donkey alone

Filming at the local school

Juan's son

Baltazar's granddaughter

At the school cafeteria

At the school cafeteria

A young boy at the school cafeteria

Dinner!

Carmita

Mauricio does his homework

Goofing off before it gets dark

We had a lot of time to play

Playing

Playing

After dinner

Chatting with Lourdes, Baltazar's granddaughter

Maria, Baltazar's daughter, prepares breakfast

Jefferson, Maria's son, likes our headlamps

Jefferson, Maria's son, likes out headlamps

A quick breakfast before school

Puppies crowd where the fire was to stay warm

Carmita gets up slowly

Breakfast!

Baltazar joins us for a meal

Taking the family clothes shopping in Riobamba

Taking the family clothes shopping in Riobamba

Taking the family clothes shopping in Riobamba

Taking the family clothes shopping in Riobamba

Carmita in her new hoodie

With Juan Carlos and Paulina before a shoot

The full crew waiting for the rain to clear

Juan Carlos gets ready a break in the clouds

Running into place to catch the light

Shooting Baltazar as he makes ropes

Shooting Baltazar as he makes ropes

Stranded on the mountain

Where we stay for the night

The next morning after some snow

Continuing up the mountain

Juan Carlos shooting with his Red One

Shooting with the Red

The full crew...very glad to be done

With Juan Carlos and Paulina